Idaho Debunks Ag-gag Law: Why other States Should Follow

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Do you know where the average meat from a grocery store comes from? Do you know about the factory farms in the United States and how problematic mass consumption of meat is? Well, director Mark Devries has been secretly using spy drones to expose several massive facilities that supply pigs for Smithfield Foods. Specifically, Murphy-Brown, a subdivision of Smithfield. Mr. Devries is one of many animal rights activists that has had to go to great lengths to show the public what is happening inside of factory farms.

Here is Smithfield’s response:

The pigs are confined to tight spaces laying on their side, often not being able to turn over for months at a time. Piglets who don’t grow fast enough are slammed head first into the ground, or gassed to death. Most chickens are genetically modified to grow at faster rates. Similar medieval style torture practices are standard in factory farmed animals. 

Smithfield stores its’ waste in lakes filled with toxic waste, the size of four football fields. In North Carolina alone there are at least 2,000 of these factory farms. The way they empty this cesspool is by spraying this toxic liquid in the air, which an affect the neighboring communities. Many people in these neighboring communities cannot go outside or open their windows when this potent toxic waste is spewed in to the air.

Elsie Herring’s, a resident of a neighboring community of Smithfield’s factory responded when asked to describe the toxic mist. “It’s like it’s raining. We don’t open the doors or the windows, but the odor still comes in, it takes your breath away. Then you start gagging, you get headaches.”, she said. There are a number of studies of asthma particular in children near these facilities. Among adults there are reports of several types of upper respiratory symptoms.

Ag-gag laws are state laws that forbid the act of undercover filming or photography of activity on farms without the consent of the owner, which targets animal rights activists and humanitarians. On August 6. 2015, a federal judge declared that Idaho’s ag-gag law is unconstitutional because it violates the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution by suppressing speech that criticizes factory farms. Idaho’s ag-gag law criminalized recording these illegal activities at factory farms and slaughterhouses. Anyone convicted of this could have faced up to a year in prison or a $5,000 fine.

In his ruling, Judge B. Lynn Winmill explained that “Although the State may not agree with the message certain groups seek to convey about Idaho’s agricultural production facilities, such as releasing secretly recorded videos of animal abuse to the Internet and calling for boycotts, it cannot deny such groups equal protection of the laws in their exercise of their right to free speech.” Judge B. Lynn Winmill agrees that states should not have control over freedom of speech and it’s unconstitutional for factory farms to deny citizens of Idaho the right to record any wrong doing on their behalf.

Idaho Debunks Ag-gag Law: Why other States Should Follow

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