An ag-gag bill set before legislators in North Carolina, the last U.S. state to consider a bill of its kind in 2013, failed to pass, marking a significant victory for animal advocates in the state. The bill, which would ban undercover video and photography on the premise of factory farms and slaughterhouses, will be heard again by the legislature in a few weeks -- but has been tabled for now.  

So-called “ag-gag” laws are spreading through many states in the U.S., thanks to big pushes from the factory farming industry in recent years. While animal advocates argue that they are allowing animal abuse to go unreported, it’s also a first amendment rights issue. Essentially, the laws can punish journalists for doing their job. Some laws would even aim to classify animal rights whistleblowers as terrorists.

There are countless landmark investigations at factory farms that have blown the lid off cruelty in the industry and led to real reform for industrial livestock regulations. With the presence of ag-gag laws, these crucial changes would never be made.

The animal advocacy group Mercy for Animals has exposed horrific abuse in North Carolina farms in the very recent past, which would have been impossible if the proposed legislation had passed. The group conducted three undercover investigations at several Butterball turkey factory farms in North Carolina, showing workers throwing, kicking and beating live animals.

You can see the exposé below -- the footage is graphic and disturbing.   

And even more disturbing -- the most recent factory farming investigation in the state, conducted by the group Compassion Over Killing, occurred at a supplier for Pilgrim’s – the second largest chicken slaughterer in the world. Among several disturbing images is footage of live birds being buried alive in outdoor pits and left to die.