The Danger of Ag-Gag Laws
“Ag-Gag” laws criminalize whistle-blowing, hamper the public’s right to know, deface the first amendment, and are a manifestation of too much industry influence over the legislature. Ag-Gag laws were first enacted as the agricultural industry’s response to national outrage after undercover pictures and films showcasing animal cruelty in slaughterhouses were released to the public. Ag-gag laws go so far as to classify “non-violent civil disobedience by environmental and animal rights activists as terrorism” because most of the state-enacted laws are modeled after the American Legislative Exchange Counsel’s Animal and Ecological Terrorism Act.
At the core, ag-gag laws prevent the public from learning about disturbing and sometimes unsafe treatment and procedures in food processing plants and environmental exploration. Essentially, these laws prevent the public from taking measures to learn and adequately protect itself from things that may not jive with our health and safety. Currently, Iowa, Utah, Missouri, Kansas, Montana and North Dakota to some extent criminalize the unauthorized taking of pictures or recordation of video in an animal facility. Luckily, New York, Iowa, Minnesota, and Florida refused to pass such laws although the Florida legislature does protect the agricultural industry by exposing people to liability for the “disparagement of perishable agricultural food products.” See F.S. 865.065. Advice: You may not want to eat your broccoli, but watch what you say about it.
But, ag-gag laws are transforming, and, recently, the oil industry is trying to protect its Fracking practice by having fracking and drilling classified as an “agricultural purpose” and making the unauthorized documentation of what goes on during the gas fracking/drilling process, a felony in states like Pennsylvania and Indiana.
Romano Law Group has aggressively fought to protect property owners from the adverse consequences of gas drilling. In 2012, Romano Law Group helped reach a $1.6m settlement on behalf of three families in Pennsylvania after their water wells had become contaminated due to a nearby gas drilling project.
If you or someone you know has been affected by local gas drilling, contact Romano Law Group for a free consultation.
 Potter, Will. “Ag-Gag” Bills and Supporters have Close Ties to ALEC. Published April 26, 2012, Accessed August 30, 2013, http://www.greenisthenewred.com/blog/ag-gag-american-legislative-exchange-council/5947/