Arkansas Is Trying Again to Prevent Whistleblowers From Exposing Cruelty to Animals

Despite failing repeatedly in the past to pass legislation that would suppress whistleblowers exposing cruelty to animals, lawmakers in Arkansas are back with another bill that’s already progressing through the legislature.

These dangerous bills, which have otherwise become known as ‘ag gag‘ bills, aim to criminalize whistleblowers and have been stirring controversy for years. As disturbing as it is to think the lawmakers that are supposed to represent us are actively working toward passing laws that would shield animal abusers and other criminal activity from being exposed, they are.

Although attempts to pass ag gag bills have repeatedly failed in multiple states, and have been challenged where they have passed, lawmakers in Arkansas are trying again to make their state one of the successes by passing an ag gag bill (HB 1665/SB 751) that’s already been passed in the House and has moved on to the Senate for consideration.

Multiple animal advocacy organizations have released undercover footage of what happens to animals behind closed doors. These investigations have played an important role in not only exposing egregious abuse and unsanitary living conditions that farm animals endure, but also standard industry practices that are not humane. In some cases these investigations have even resulted in criminal charges and new laws.

The materials provided by such investigations have shed light into otherwise closed facilities and have prompted thought, debate and reform regarding the treatment and use of animals in agriculture that would have been hidden from us.

Clearly these investigations are bad for those making a profit from animal agriculture, which is what has helped spur this type of legislation, but in this case it goes much further than animal agriculture.

Arkansas’ most recent version of this legislation not only shields egregious animal cruelty, but it also covers essentially all private businesses. It could potentially criminalize people trying to expose child abuse in daycares, cruelty in puppy mills, food safety issues in restaurants and environmental pollution, among other problems. It will leave whistleblowers, who could be sued directly under this bill, vulnerable to facing costly lawsuits just because they want to bring to light cruel, illegal or unethical activity.

It is a shame to see lawmakers in Arkansas are working to protect businesses that have something to hide at the expense of animal welfare, food safety, workers’ rights, the public and the First Amendment.

TAKE ACTION!

Please sign and share the petition asking lawmakers in Arkansas not to pass any type of legislation that would criminalize whistleblowers.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

142 comments

Lola P
Lola Pyesterday

Thanks Alicia.

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Mona Pietsch
Mona Pietsch3 days ago

petition signed

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Rosemary H
Rosemary H5 days ago

This disgusts me - but I have an idea what may partly lie behind it - apart from human greed! AR activists have been known to fake parts of their videos. If they were all honest representations, then there would be a stronger case for fighting these laws!

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Beth Talmage
Beth Talmage6 days ago

Oh, Arkansas. Decisions like these are pathetic.

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Margie F
Margie F7 days ago

So wrong. They should be named and shamed.

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Clare O'Beara
Clare O7 days ago

Any real whistleblowers will be able to get the message to journalists who will hide their identity. So don't worry too much. Just support real journalism. Stop buying celebrity lifestyle rubbish and buy a real paper.

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Clare O'Beara
Clare O7 days ago

Stop buying meat and other products from factory farms where you can. Irish beef and dairy is produced from cattle grazing outdoors and using growth promoting hormones and unnecessary antibiotics is illegal here.

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Lolli M
Lolli M7 days ago

Why would you try to prevent the documentation animal cruelty if you were not commiting animal cruelty??? They should be charged with animal cruelty directly. No need for any whistle blower to document anything, that they try to hide their animal cruelty is OBVIOUS!!

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Past Member
Past Member 7 days ago

If anyone thinks this only happens here go to www.Animalpetitions.org.

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Betty C
Betty C7 days ago

Just because we happen to be the most powerful species on earth, we humans have the ability, but not the right, to abuse the so-called lower animals. The ends do not justify the means!

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