Earlier today, Governor Asa Hutchinson betrayed Arkansans and the American public by signing an “ag-gag law into effect. This dangerous law, which was rushed through the Arkansas General Assembly over the past few weeks, will help corporations break the law with impunity by giving them power to sue whistleblowers and undercover investigators who expose evidence of abuse and wrongdoing in factory farms, slaughterhouses, and other big businesses across the state.
Arkansas is now the sixth state to enact an ag-gag law in recent years (if you count the one in Idaho that was declared unconstitutional in 2015). While these laws take different forms, they have the common goal of preventing the public from learning about factory farm abuse by intimidating and punishing animal industry whistleblowers.
The laws are a direct response to the progress being made by Mercy For Animals and other animal protection groups. Recent MFA undercover investigations of suppliers to Walmart and Tyson Foods, each headquartered in Arkansas, have uncovered sickening animal abuse and resulted in criminal convictions of factory farm workers and owners who were caught on camera kicking and beating animals or impaling them with spiked clubs. These investigations also led the nation’s largest food retailer to adopt a sweeping animal welfare commitment designed to help end some of the worst factory farm cruelty.
Arkansas’s ag-gag law aims to stop this progress by preventing undercover investigations and sweeping evidence of animal abuse and other crimes under the rug. It’s also written so broadly that it could be used to sue whistleblowers in almost any workplace. Clearly lawmakers in Arkansas know the state’s factory farmers have a lot to hide if they are willing to go to such extreme lengths to conceal their cruel and abusive practices.
Mercy For Animals will continue to fight against injustice on behalf of animals. Please consider becoming an Investigator Ally with a monthly gift to support undercover investigators in the face of growing opposition by factory farm interests and corrupt politicians. You can also take a stand against factory farm corruption by refusing to pay for it. Please click here to learn how to move toward a compassionate plant-based diet.