New Hampshire, Wyoming and Nebraska are the latest states to introduce ALEC backed Ag-Gag laws aimed at preventing employees, journalists or activists from exposing illegal or unethical practices on factory farms. Lawmakers in 10 other states introduced similar bills in 2011-2012. The laws passed in three of those states: Missouri, Iowa and Utah. But consumer and animal-welfare activists prevented the laws from passing in Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York and Tennessee.
In all, six states now have Ag-Gag laws, including North Dakota, Montana and Kansas, all of which passed the laws in 1990-1991, before the term “Ag-Gag” was coined.
Wyoming’s HB 0126 is the perfect example of a direct link between an undercover investigation of a factory farm and the introduction of an Ag-Gag law. The bill was introduced after nine factory workers were charged with animal cruelty following an undercover investigation by the Humane Society of the United States. HSUS activists videotaped workers kicking live piglets, swinging them by their hind legs and beating and kicking mother pigs. State Rep. Sue Wallis and Senator Ogden Driskill introduced the bill which would make it a criminal act to carry out investigations that exposed the cruelty at Wyoming Premium Farms.
The idea behind the Animal and Ecological Terrorism Act is to make it illegal to “enter an animal or research facility to take pictures by photograph, video camera, or other or other means with the intent to commit criminal activities or defame the facility or its owner.”