Animal welfare activists in Utah are fighting for the right to know the behind-the-scenes truth about the factory farming industry.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) have teamed up to file a lawsuit that challenges the Utah ‘Ag Gag’ law prohibiting undercover filming while trespassing at farm operations.
Though this Utah law is intended to “protect property rights,” these animal welfare activists claim that such a law restricts their right to free expression and speech. The activists suspect that the law really serves to prevent citizens and organizations from speaking out against the farming operations. Many “special interest profiteers” know that the public would reject the meat and dairy on the market if they saw what happened to the animals in the process of them becoming dinner.
In defending the lawsuit, executive director of the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Stephen Wells, claims that activists have a “right to bring animal cruelty to light.”
Beyond preventing animal abuse, revealing the often-unscrupulous practices of industrial farming sites is crucial for protecting human health, as well. Many of the U.S.’s landmark food safety laws have been passed after activists brought undercover films of livestock operations to the attention of the public.
Research conducted by the American Public Health Association (APHA) have confirmed that factory farms post dangerous threats to human health and the environment by polluting the water and air surrounding the farm and by providing consumers with meat loaded with hormones and antibiotics.
If the lawsuit passes, the Utah animal welfare activists will have taken a giant step forward for animals and humans alike: for more ethical farming operations and healthier food on your dinner table.