Amnesty Makes It 60

My life’s work has always been human rights, but I’m also a strong supporter of animal protection. So I was especially heartened by our recent decision to join 59 other organizations – ranging from the Humane Society to the ACLU to the Sierra Club to the United Farmworkers – to oppose what are known as “ag-gag” bills.

These bills aim to silence and thwart whistle-blowers who would expose animal cruelty, poor working conditions, food or environmental safety issues, and more by, for example, making it a crime for an investigator to get a job on a factory farm, banning taking a photo or video without permission, and requiring mandatory reporting under timelines that are so short as to make it virtually impossible to document patterns of abuse.

What at first might appear to be exclusively an animal abuse issue is, on closer inspection, clearly also a freedom of expression issue, a workers’ rights issue, an environmental issue and a public health issue.  And this is why such a diverse coalition has come together to oppose “ag-gag” bills.

Our movements have some key principles in common, perfectly encapsulated in our opposition to the bills. First, cruelty in any form is always abhorrent, always unacceptable, and should always be opposed. Unchecked, it is corrosive, diminishing all of us and putting us all at risk.

Second, abuses thrive in the dark. Time and time again, Amnesty’s research has shown that governments and corporations alike try to keep out of the reach of public and judicial scrutiny what they know can never be justified.

Finally, sunshine – in our case, the proverbial candle – really is the best disinfectant. We have no hope of stopping abuses if we can’t even bring them to light. This is why Amnesty has for more than fifty years been such a staunch defender of the right to freedom of expression, which itself is essential to the protection of other rights.

Learn more about ag-gag bills here and here, and if one of these bills comes up in your state, let your state legislators know that you oppose it.

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13 thoughts on “Amnesty Makes It 60

  1. This is very much to Amnesty International's credit. Suffering is suffering, whether it is experienced by a human or by another sentient animal. Ag-gag laws are an affront to all who value truth and the freedom to expose abuses.

  2. The bill came up in Utah (NOT my state, but I live here for now), and I voiced my displeasure through telephone and written word. However, as is usually the case when money is involved, they had already made up their minds, but were humoring those o
    pposed to the bill by inviting us to call in. So now we're faced with the uphill battle of turning over this law, in ranch country, where the old boys club is alive and well, and anyone who is concerned with the treatment of the animals is merely a hippy upstart.

  3. Age gag bills undermine our basic rights and allow greed to prosper. Keep up the good work.

  4. Why should cruelty to animals not be reported? Are we now morally becoming so inhumane to actually enjoy barbarism. Ethics went down the drain.

  5. Nicely put. I've been involved since I first heard about the bill. I've spread awareness and signed petitions. I feel strongly that this is a must for everyone's envolvement. Our freedoms and our souls are at steak.


  7. Thanks so much Amnesty International for joining the fight against Ag Gag , This isnt just an animal issue with animals being treated so cruely and being abused these animals in factory farms need protection its also a human issue, those who try to do the right thing by reporting such cruelty and abuse needs protecting as well

    • Thank you! The Humane Society invited us to join the coalition letter — Patrick Quan is our contact there.

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