An ag-gag law for California?

Iowa has one and other states are considering them

The author is an animal-rights activist in Chico. She hosts the Sentients show on KZFR 90.1 FM.

Undercover investigations by animal-welfare groups like Mercy for Animals have led to landmark corporate animal-welfare-policy reforms, new and improved laws to protect farmed animals and the environment, felony convictions of animal abusers, increased consumer protection and food safety initiatives, and the closure of particularly corrupt facilities.

Recently, however, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad has bowed to pressure from “Big Ag” by signing into law a bill that makes criminals out of undercover investigators who expose cruelty to animals. Also known as the “ag-gag” law, it’s the first of its kind to pass in the United States. Efforts are being made to pass similar legislation in other states, including New York, Missouri, Minnesota and Nebraska. Utah’s version of an ag-gag law is currently sitting on the governor’s desk.

There are a few things that are troubling about this type of legislation. First, laws like this take away our rights to freedom of speech and of the press. Second, laws like this will allow dangerous working conditions, environmental violations, and food safety concerns to go unchecked. Finally, and most obviously, rampant animal abuse will continue to happen behind closed doors.

Politically speaking, Governor Branstad has a lot to worry about. Iowa is a factory-farm paradise. Agriculture representatives have a lot of pull in Iowa. What about his next run for office? With Big Ag backing him up, I’m sure signing this bill will help him a great deal next election.

Iowa is the largest pork- and egg-producing state in the country. California is the largest milk-producing state in the country. Legislation like this has not been introduced in California yet, but what if it is? Will you take a stand? Do you want your food protected? Do you believe in the rights of workers on these types of modern farms? What about environmental concerns?

If you believe in the things I just mentioned, the best thing you can do to protect animals, workers, food safety and the environment is to adopt a plant-based diet. Visit and to learn more.