Utah Governor Signs Dangerous and Unconstitutional "Ag-Gag" Bill into Law

Thumbnail image for SLC1.jpgIn a setback to freedom of speech, freedom of press, food safety, and animal welfare, Utah Governor Gary Herbert has caved in to pressure from factory farm interests by signing into law a dangerous and far-reaching bill that seeks to silence whistleblowers and shield animal abusers from public scrutiny. By enacting a law that criminalizes undercover investigations revealing cruelty to animals, corporate corruption, unsafe working conditions, environmental violations, or food safety issues at factory farms, Governor Herbert has helped turn factory farms in the state into safe havens for criminal and unethical conduct.

In an interview with the Salt Lake Tribune, Sterling Brown, vice president for public policy for the Utah Farm Bureau, shows his willingness to deceive and misrepresent the crucial role undercover investigations have played in improving society by claiming, "These individuals and organizations have done more of a disservice than anything positive."

The truth is that investigations have led to innumerable positive changes - not only bringing animal abusers to justice, but also safeguarding the American food supply. In fact, the largest beef recall in U.S. history was prompted by hidden-camera footage recorded by an animal welfare organization. The startling footage exposed "downed" cows - those too sick or injured to walk - being kicked, hit, pushed with fork lifts, water-hosed, and electrically prodded onto the kill floor at a California slaughterhouse as USDA inspectors looked on. The slaughter of downed cows is particularly concerning because of the cows' heightened risk of carrying "mad cow" disease, salmonella and E. coli.

U.S. Rep. George Miller told USA Today that the recall "raises alarming questions about the U.S. Department of Agriculture's ability to monitor the safety of meat that is being shipped to our nation's schools. It is outrageous that it took a non-governmental organization to shed light on the egregious abuses that were happening right under the USDA's nose."

Undercover investigations by Mercy For Animals and other groups have also led to groundbreaking corporate animal welfare policy changes, new and improved laws to protect farmed animals and the environment, felony and misdemeanor convictions of animal abusers, and the closure of especially corrupt animal facilities.

Not a single federal law protects farmed animals from abuse or neglect during their lives on factory farms, and Utah specifically excludes farmed animals from protection against even some of the worst forms of factory farm cruelty, such as intensive confinement, tail docking and debeaking. But instead of strengthening its weak laws to protect animals and consumers, Utah legislators are working to silence undercover investigators who expose cruel and even criminal activities at factory farms.

Mercy For Animals will explore all legal avenues to challenge and overturn this unconstitutional law, which is patently un-American and a clear violation of freedom of speech.

It is now more important than ever before to expose the cruel and corrupt practices of factory farms nationwide.

What You Can Do:

Expose Factory Farm Cruelty - Please share this video with as many people as you can and help expose the cruel and corrupt practices of factory farming industries.

Choose Vegetarian - Each time we eat, we can choose kindness over cruelty. Adopting a diet free of meat, dairy and eggs is the single most powerful action you can take to prevent needless cruelty to farmed animals. Visit ChooseVeg.com for free recipes, tips on making the switch, and more.