Proposed laws in eight states would outlaw undercover investigations of animal abuse and unsanitary farm conditions. Iowa and New York are debating similar legislation, as is Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Nebraska and Utah. Montana, North Dakota and Kansas have already passed "ag gag" laws. Measures in those states would halt activists from using deceptive practices to target producers in agricultural and other businesses.
Lawrence Jacobs, a political science professor at the University of Minnesota's Humphrey School of Public Affairs, points out that activists have become more of a factor, coming onto farms under false pretenses and taking video. These stories rally opposition and really are a threat to political alliances that support agriculture.
Wes Jamison, an associate communications professor at Palm Beach Atlantic University in Florida, who studies interest-group activism, says for politicians, it comes across looking like they're trying to muzzle these groups. It's putting restrictions on citizen 'gotcha' journalism.
Animal-rights groups such as the Humane Society of the United States contend food safety will be compromised if abusive and unsanitary practices go unexposed.
Reprinted from NAFB News Service