Anti-whistleblower Legislation

Undercover investigations by animal advocates are an important tool in exposing the cruel realities of factory farming. However, industrial agriculture is continuing the tactic of introducing anti-whistleblower legislation (often referred to as “ag-gag” bills) to prevent the investigation and exposure of cruel conditions endured by animals on factory farms.

There are currently 7 states with anti-whistleblower laws (Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, and Utah). Yet, many other states have unsuccessfully attempted to pass this type of legislation (Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Wyoming). Many legislators have come to understand how harmful these bills are— in 2013, 15 ag-gag bills were introduced (they all failed to pass), but in 2015 there were only 5 introduced (Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Washington). North Carolina was the only state in 2015 to codify an ag-gag bill.

Animal and consumer advocates are now challenging some of these laws in court. A big blow came to proponents of ag-gag legislation in 2015 when a federal district court found Idaho’s ag-gag law to be unconstitutional and overturned it. (The state has appealed the case to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.) Lawsuits filed against the North Carolina and Utah ag-gag laws are pending. These lawsuits may deter other states from passing ag-gag legislation, but please visit out action eAlertpage to see if there is something you can do to help stop an anti-whistleblower bill from becoming law in your state.