In the United States, 99% of food animals are raised in factory farms, an enterprise that produces a huge amount of waste and crowded conditions that are often filthy and inhumane. Such conditions can sometimes lead to sickness in both the animals and the people who the animals are intended to feed.
Investigators from animal rights groups have revealed abuses like dairy cows beaten to death, and pigs being sexually assaulted. A 2008 expose of mishandled sick cows led to the largest meat recall in U.S. history and investigations into egg farms have resulted in recalls for salmonella.
There have been bills introduced in seven states to allow these abuses to be covered up by making investigations into farms and animal facilities illegal. Kansas, Utah, North Dakota and Iowa already have such laws in place. These “Ag Gag” laws would have made the investigations in 2008 that led to the recall of potentially tainted meat illegal.
These laws seek to cover up animal abuse rather than instate more humane farm conditions. There should continue to be public visibility into how our food is produced and how animals are treated in the process. Investigators, journalists and activists have a right to do their job to keep our food supply safe.