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Science Proves Ag-Gag Laws Cause People to Distrust Farmers

When Big Ag first started pushing ag-gag laws, which make it illegal to document animal abuse at factory farms and slaughterhouses, media outlets and animal welfare experts across the country cried foul.

A San Francisco Chronicle editorial called ag-gag “the worst PR gaffe since New Coke.”

Dr. Temple Grandin, a respected meat industry advisor and animal welfare expert, said it’s “the stupidest thing that ag ever did.”

Now, a new study aptly titled “Awareness of ag-gag laws erodes trust in farmers and increases support for animal welfare regulations has proven what many people suspected all along: Ag-gag laws make people wonder what factory farmers are trying so desperately to hide.

According to the study, people go from trusting farmers to distrusting them when they learn about ag-gag laws, and this decreased trust does not vary across major demographics.

Whether a republican, democrat, or independent, and whether a resident of an urban or a suburban or rural environment, study participants reported distrust of farmers after reading about ag-gag laws.

Not surprisingly, the study notes that prior to learning about ag-gag laws, omnivores reported more trust in farmers than did vegetarians. Additionally, after learning about ag-gag laws, omnivores went from trusting farmers to distrusting them even more so than vegetarians who had not read about the law.

Finally, the study indicates that learning about ag gag “reduced perceptions of farm animal welfare … increased support for stricter laws protecting farm animals … and, interestingly, decreased the perception that farmers do a good job of protecting the environment.

All this means is that factory farmers are in a no-win situation. They either let people see how badly they treat animals and lose the public’s trust, or they attempt to hide their cruel practices and lose the public’s trust.

Of course, these farmers could listen to the growing demand for great-tasting and healthy vegan alternatives to meat, dairy, and eggs and actually start farming foods that don’t make people recoil in horror when they find out how they’re produced.

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