Among the more controversial laws that apply to confined animal feeding operations are “ag-gag laws”. Ag-gag laws are laws that make it illegal for individuals to expose inhumane practices inside private farming companies. Ag-gag laws were essentially created to protect large animal farms from whistleblowers or animal rights activists that would try to film abuse while undercover. The majority of these laws require individuals to turn over all the film they have acquired while in the CAFO. This not only keeps the public in the dark when it comes to animal abuse in the United States meat industry, but it also makes it virtually impossible to formulate a case against factory farms because it is impossible to display a pattern of abuse within them (The Humane Society of the United States, 2017). Ag-gag laws were first created in the 1990s in Kansas, however they currently exist in Alabama, Arkansas, Montana, North Dakota, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Utah, Wyoming, and North Carolina (Animal Legal Defense Fund, 2012). This specific type of legislation creates a wide variety of problems, from both an ethical standpoint and a legal standpoint. First, ag-gag laws pose a large threat to the health of not only the animals that are being raised in CAFOs, but the people that consume them. In 2008, the United States experienced the biggest meat recall in U.S. history after the release of an undercover video that exposed a large amount of abuse and health code violations within Hallmark Meat Packing. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) filed for a recall of 143 million pounds of beef in response to viewing the video and discovering their violations (Brown, 2008). Ag-gag laws are detrimental in nature because they allow for animals to be treated poorly, and they are in the best interest of factory farms instead of the American people as a whole. The U.S. would have been exposed to 143 million pounds of tainted meat from ill cows that were not USDA certified but would have been packaged with the USDA label had it not been for this undercover video. Ag-gag laws also have a legal flaw in that they are unconstitutional. Ag-gag laws can be determined unconstitutional on three different violations, the first being that ag-gag laws are a violation of the First Amendment.

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