We believe transparency should be the cornerstone of our food system. With that in mind, let’s catch up on the current state of some “ag-gag” laws.
These laws — which criminalize undercover filming or photographing on farms — have passed in eight states, but are being challenged in federal courts in four of those: Idaho, North Carolina, Utah and Wyoming.
Idaho’s ag-gag law made headlines in 2015 after documents revealed that dairy industry lobbyists crafted the legislation.
More updates, via Public News Service:
- “Oral arguments in the federal appeals case are expected in April over the Idaho law that makes it illegal for food-safety and animal-rights activists to gain employment at farm facilities under false pretenses, or to document the conditions for animals at those facilities.”
- “According to the publication “Food Safety News,” Idaho officials contend in written arguments in the appeal that the First Amendment doesn’t protect video or audio recording as free speech. Officials also claimed these kinds of whistle-blower activities infringe on agricultural landowners’ property rights.”
- “But Matthew Liebman of the Animal Legal Defense Fund said these statutes aren’t about property rights, and activists aren’t using their cameras to violate landowners’ privacy. He contends ag-gag laws are shielding the farm and dairy industries from criticism.”
Ag-gag laws are directly linked to public health. As this WIRED article states, “some food safety experts say these so-called ag-gag laws will cloak disease-spreading industry practices, such as processing ill cattle and housing poultry in filthy conditions, in secrecy, raising risks of food contamination.”
We believe the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics needs to address ag-gag laws and inform dietitians of how and why they negatively impact public health.