The factory farming industry's attempt to hide inhumane treatment of farm animals with "ag-gag" bills has been nothing short of a colossal failure. In the last two years, more than 20 of these state bills – which seek to criminalize whistleblowers who expose animal abuse, poor working conditions, environmental crimes, and more - have been resoundingly defeated.
When these harmful bills are introduced, they're met with strong opposition from a variety of public interest groups, including animal protection, journalism, food safety, public health, human rights and First Amendment organizations. These bills also prompt the very footage agribusiness is working so hard to conceal – footage of farm animals being abused at agricultural facilities – to be shared on social media and in the news. It's clear that the ag-gag effort has backfired.
Thankfully, Big Ag's losing ways continue this legislative session. Already in 2015, two of the five ag-gag bills introduced have stalled. In Washington state, HB 1104 went no further than a committee hearing, where 18 people testified in opposition and only the bill sponsor spoke in favor. A Seattle paper commented that the hearing was "a beautiful thing to watch," as the ag-gag bill was "demolished by testimony from experts, attorneys, and everyday citizens who all opposed it." Colorado's ag-gag bill was also rejected at the committee-level. And an ag-gag bill in Wisconsin which hasn't even been formally introduced yet is already facing stiff resistance.