Ag-Gag Laws Silence Whistleblowers

  • submit to reddit

Muckrakers and activists have been working to expose the brutality of industrialized meat production since Upton Sinclair’s writing of The Jungle in 1906. But an ALEC model bill known as “The Animal and Ecological Terrorism Act” would make it a crime to film at animal facilities — such as factory farms or slaughterhouses — with the intent to “defame the facility or its owner.” So-called “ag-gag” laws that appear inspired by the ALEC model have been passed in several states. This report, produced by Okapi Productions, LLC  and the Schumann Media Center, Inc. looks at the effect of these laws on both our food supply and our freedom of speech.

Producer: Tom Casciato
Writers: Bill Moyers, Tom Casciato
Associate Producer: Laura Macomber
Editor: Daniel Baer

For more on the story:

Green is the New Red: “First ‘Ag-Gag’ Prosecution: Utah Woman Filmed a Slaughterhouse from the Public Street”

The New York Times: “Who Protects the Animals?” by Mark Bittman

Wired: “Ag-Gag Laws Could Make America Sick”

WRAL: “State official pleads guilty in Butterball farm raid leak”

  • submit to reddit
  • Anonymous

    Fortunately committed activists will not be deterred by ALEC’s “Ag-gag” laws. In fact arrests of Ag-gag violators will likely bring more negative publicity and backlash toward animal abusers and unsanitary farming practices.

  • Anonymous

    So, can one expect to end up in Guantanamo if one gets caught filming animal abuse?

  • Hahahaha

    In a world of Annonymous and other Hacktivist groups, and inexpensive digital video gear, there is no real way to prevent videos of abuse from being made and distributed. Its an empty gesture law.

  • Bo Tamaki

    People need to be aware that animals are victims of terrorism. Violators need to be punished.

  • bucadonebuvi

    мy coυѕιɴ ιѕ мαĸιɴɢ $51/нoυr oɴlιɴe. υɴeмployed ғor α coυple oғ yeαrѕ αɴd prevιoυѕ yeαr ѕнe ɢoт α $1З619cнecĸ wιтн oɴlιɴe joв ғor α coυple oғ dαyѕ. ѕee мore αт…­ ­ViewMore——————————————&#46qr&#46net/kkEj

    Fortunately committed activists
    will not be deterred by ALEC’s “Ag-gag” laws. In fact arrests of Ag-gag
    violators will likely bring more negative publicity and backlash toward
    animal abusers and unsanitary farming practices.

  • Anonymous

    They’re working on model laws for suspending Habeas corpus so that they can arrest and disappear these terrorist for attempting to defame the infamous.

  • Jon Scott Duffey

    Having been part of efforts to “expose” Monsanto from the days of Agent Orange to putting non-GMO family farms out of business for /stealing/ company pollen… I hope those with guts continue to “look behind the curtain.” But I urge caution. I have two dear friends whose lives were ruined by the ChemTyrant (in partnership with Fox) for telling the world about rBGH.
    If you get inside a slaughter house, beware of /accidents/: ‘The poor photographer fell into the ground beef machine.”

  • Roq

    More ALEC reporting! More more more! I can’t get enough of this story.

  • Heather Mash

    The long arm of the Republican/Teaparty monster called ALEC needs to be controlled because of the destruction caused to democracy inorder to influence and control to Corporations. H.

  • Heather Mash

    Gitmo isn’t owned by a Corporation nor is it supported for votes or money of Republican/TeaParty politicians. H.

  • commonwealth

    It amazes me that there aren’t some principled Republicans who would say to themselves: Wait a minute, this is just to prevent scandals from threatening profits! As good Republicans and Capitalists, we believe in profits and business, we believe they should be freed from the accountabilities imposed by government. But to relieve them of responsibility for their actions in the court of public opinion? The basis of capitalist economy is the right of the buyer to choose and the basis of the Republic is the right of the citizen to be informed.”

    Where are the Republicans who think this, and are willing to take a stand?

  • George

    ” Principled Republicans” . You’v just answered your on Question !

  • commonwealth

    I refuse to think that they don’t exist… They may be rare, but it’s hard to believe they have disappeared completely…

  • Anonymous

    The military industrial complex driven by the religious right 1% is alive and well in determining government actions, not the least of which is through privatizing services from the KBR contractors at Gitmo to the U.S. military weapons inscribed with verses from the Bible to security guards outfitted in SWAT like regalia to stop KXL pipeline protestors and disenfranchised landowners. The public school-to-prison pipeline is another expression of our militarized society driven by corporate rule.

  • Erwin Dale Brown


  • Ray

    100% Anti First Amendment, Anti Constitutional and Pro-Torture.
    ALEC members are terrorists not the good people recording torture.

  • Valerie Grace

    Environmental militants? WTF is wrong with the human race? Well, F U gov’t … I went vegan 6 months ago.

  • Valerie Grace

    There are no republican representatives in the gov’t anymore. They were overthrown by the “Tea Party” weirdos, and besides that … all “sides” are controlled, absolutely, by the corporations. God, the sooner people wake up and realize that we lost our republic decades ago and that the corporatocracy we’re living in is making major moves to dismantle not only what little is left of America but to disenfranchise all Americans, the sooner we can kick their asses and take our country back. Hello?

  • lois

    Are we now in Siberia USA?

  • George

    I hope you are right , but I have seen very few examples of one.
    People that aspire to that position are usually self serving.
    I always look at what they do not what they say.
    The Truth always comes out we just have Learn from it.

  • Anonymous

    Consider the fate of real republicans the past 6-7 years; Bennett
    of Utah, and others losing in primaries to tea party faux republicans. Olympia Snow retiring out of frustration with her party. A Dole, Bush41, Ford, Goldwater could not get past the primary phase – for that matter Reagan woild not get passed the primary process.

  • Tara Crowley Rinaldi

    I thoroughly agree. And the information has been out there for at least two decades. Read “Nickled and Dimed” and “Deer Hunting with Jesus” if you want to see the wholesale disenfranchisement of American workers and consumers. Not to mention the concentration of wealth. Due to a small percentage of extremely greedy citizens, our country is losing its way. We need to vote into office people who understand the economic/corporate realities.

  • turtlemother

    yes, where are they?….

  • Anonymous

    Me too, I always liked vegetables from the garden, but was strongly brainwashed into believing my food was safe in the grocery store. But having read a few books on the subject (The China Study T. Colin Campbell) (sugar, Salt, Fat), and the Food INc, documentary I wont touch Monsanto GMO’s , the dairy, bread, meat etc with a 50 foot pole, if I can help it. Why poison your own citizentry, for horrendous profit. What are 160 countries around the world that refuse to take Monsantos poison trying to tell us. Russia refuses to buy US meat. What kind of monsters are our Food corporations, that can legally feed us poison, with government, military and legal approval. Its either vegetarianism or leave these borders, this is one evil corrupt brutal system that screams for profit at all cost. I feel the Medical establishment and the Food industry are in cahoots to make us all desperate sick dope fiends and diabetic invalids. I buy less than 5% of my food out of the local grocery store.

  • Anonymous

    The number one issue for Americans is reinstating Rule of Law and recovering tens of trillions of dollars in corporate fraud and using that to pay down the government debt at all levels and rebuild public programs and services.

    If you are listening to a political pundit who is not making that their mantra……they are protecting corporate interests and working against the people!

  • Jeanne

    Let’s silence ALEC!!!

  • R

    Some day you’ll be called a terrorist for eating a bowl of oatmeal.

  • loapalehorse

    Isn’t truth still a defense to defamation?

  • Anonymous

    The NSA will make sure that’s the next stop of the journey to Fascism.

  • Anonymous

    The key to stopping ALEC is for people to begin discussing and agreeing on what they want as the PURPOSE and PRINCIPLES of Government at all levels. Until then not much will change. Government is not democracy. The people are democracy and need to do their part to protect it.

  • tbcrawford

    ALEC must be exposed and stopped. Who do they think they are? What is their ultimate goal, besides destroying the plant?

  • Misty Schell

    All I see is, they know damn well what is being done to innocent animals is barbaric and wrong. Do they care NO, they want money. Animals are raped, baby’s stolen, tortured, deplorable conditions. They did NOT give their permission to anyone to be placed where they are. If people would get off of their scared behinds and make a damn stand against this, only then will it end. No customers no business, it’s the oldest rule in the book. I’m a proud vegan and I’m a lot healthier then people who consume animal products.This a huge insult to animals and to people everywhere. Thinking animals are property and thinking people are too stupid to understand what is going on. SHAME on ALL who put these laws in place and SHAME on everyone who contributes to this barbaric act.

  • freedomfighter

    Its very simple. its our moral duty to defy laws we know are unjust. if we didn’t the changes in the 1960s never would have happened. I absolutely agree alec must be stopped.

  • Ted PeepLover Wells

    ALEC is an abomination. Slaughter is an economic and ecological disaster. WItness Kaufman TX and DeKalb IL.

  • hourglass1

    what a list! we bailed out GM and they still hate us. not getting a Chevy and not insuring with GEICO.

  • Anonymous

    I made some hummus yesterday with canned black beans and pressure cooked non-GMO soybeans. I never have tahini so I omit it. Link to hummus recipe>>>>

  • Anonymous

    like Edna said I am alarmed that someone able to make $8779 in four weeks on the internet. did you see this page w­w­w.K­E­P­2.c­o­m

  • Tia Douglass

    It is beyond my comprehension how issues such as these are even debatable! Humankind? This video made me sick to my stomach and I didn’t (couldn’t) even watch the vast majority of it! Has the human race gone so far off that they don’t realize this is wrong, Wrong, WRONG?

  • JohnB

    ALEC and all companies. lawyers, and legislators are the real terrorists! For this and lots of other CRAP! They are so full of CRAP and spewing it everywhere that it is dangerous to the health of decent people!

  • Kerry Michel

    Read the book ‘Green is the New Red’ to see how people are being labeled eco-terrorists and being sent to secret maximum security prisons by our government. Even serial killers have more rights in prisons than those labeled eco-terrorists do in the secret prisons they are imprisoned in. Scary things our government does to whistleblowers.

  • shel

    I don’t see how going vegetarian helps when these people are poisoning the plants plants as well. Grow your own and hunt.

  • Anonymous

    One way to act against this is to not buy the products, and let the stores and restaurants that carry them know you aren’t. Form a group. Boycott the stores. If enough people wake up and take a stand on this, it’s all over for ‘alec’ and factory farms. You’ll be better off not eating this crap anyway.

  • Steven Gaylord

    Justice is the people’s right, Not the right of criminal corporations.

  • Anonymous

    If they want you, you are gone

  • Anonymous

    if most of us hunted there would be no game. The answer is to grow it.

  • Sarah

    Gone are the days when farmers were proud to show off their farms. Now corporate farmers are taught, yes taught, that animals are just another commodity and can be handled as such. I think manufacturers are more careful with non-alive commodities than farmers are with animals.How many bottles of wine would be broken if the boxes were handled like those turkeys?

  • Barbara

    At this moment, I am at a loss for words because the pain I feel for those animals is tremendous. My children will see this and we will stop the purchases from the companies and people involved. Then, I will openly talk with the public about the noted practices and send any evidence via internet. Our country has lost its morals and integrity. And we know that only the surface has been scratched. Who knows what else will be revealed.

  • Scott

    All seriousness aside for a moment, all that I can manage to say is haha. America, the most delusional society on the face of the planet…. In all fairness, it is the powers that be which are the real problem there.

  • Scott

    No, it is just America. Tough to swallow for some but there it is.

  • Veganarchist

    1. Do your research as a consumer

    2. Go vegan

    3. Grow it: use non-hybrid, non-GMO certified organic heirloom seeds. Plant where you can: raised bed, container gardening, window boxes, or community garden plot

    4. Whatever you can’t grow yourself buy from local farmers who use veganic/organic/permaculture methods and buy certified organic from the store

    5. Boycott all industries and companies who exploit animals, violate worker’s rights, and unnecessarily contribute to environmental degradation

    6. Engage in civic action

    7. Create a community of like-minded others with varying skill sets and resources

    8. Consider homesteading

  • Lesley

    We must be on the lookout in our state legislatures and we CANNOT let them pass!

  • dierichards

    Absolutely ludicrous!!! Stupid people.

  • Judith

    Thank you, Bill, for reporting this. How can we get more exposure of the control and abuses of ALEC, its members and certainly its board.

  • Jerry Reed

    Remember Soilent Green, we are not far away.

  • Anonymous

    Amazing that these large coprs can get gag orders to stop being spotlighted in the crimes that they commit President Obama is complicate in such illegalities and has to take the blame for cruelties and unsanitary conditions which are allowed to exist. He does nothing to combat this culture. Our country is going down the drain in every way that counts to the health, well-being and security of we, the people, and we have no way to combat it without the mega-bucks that the corporation do

  • Guss Dolan
  • Guss Dolan

    “I don’t always hit cows over the head with a hammer, over and over, but when I do…
    …I make sure ALEC has legislation to stop you from videotaping me.
    Stay in darkness, my friends”
    [the Most Interesting Man on the Internet]

  • Brian Baker

    Simple – The prime movers of ALEC, the Koch Brothers, are too chicken…to run for office and would rather buy their way into control. It’s easier for their silver spoon fed asses. They get the world they want without having to have their faces in public view. They even paid off PBS from airing a documentary about them fercryingoutloud. Thankfully, they are old. Sadly, they are as old as they are and still consuming oxygen.

  • Dorothy Benedict

    Wow I am a militant and I didn’t even know it! I am the warrior.

  • Judith Barker Fester

    what about the cruelty of mass gassing of dogs and cats at local animal shelters in makeshift containers, like old freezers.

  • Bob

    These are STATE LAWS, an end run around the federal government, just like the voter suppression laws!

  • Bob

    I like the idea, a nationwide consumer organization to pressure corporations, since the federal government and “Supreme” Court are essentially co-opted by Wall Street!

  • R G

    The right to breathe air, drink clean uncontaminated water, and eat food that has no GMO’s (or at least labelled) and now this…the battle between corporations (and especially megacorps) and the individual human (trying to save his own life)– that right should not be abridged; a criminal is one who does wrong not usually the one who exposes it. Don’t know anything about Alec yet but will study it. Civil Liberties outweigh any law. (Or should, I feel at first thought). People above profit. Animals above profit. All the kingdoms of nature above profit. I shall give up chicken during Sept. as my personal protest.