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Iowa Legislature Renews Attempt to Silence Agricultural Whistleblowers

Posted  03/14/19
Aerial view of agricultural waste storage facilities and livestock barns in green fields
Two months after a federal judge’s January 2019 decision that Iowa’s 2012 ag-gag law was unconstitutional, Iowa legislators have approved a new bill that—like its predecessor—aims to stifle would-be whistleblowers. The legislation falls under the umbrella of what opponents call ag-gag laws: statutes that criminalize photographing, videotaping, or otherwise blowing the whistle on misconduct occurring on farms...

Judge Overturns Utah's 'Ag-Gag' Ban on Undercover Filming at Farms

Posted  07/11/17
By the C|C Whistleblower Lawyer Team Last Friday, U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby struck down Utah's 2012 "ag-gag" law as unconstitutional for violating the First Amendment's free-speech protections. "Ag-gag" describes a number of state-level bills and laws that punish and suppress whistleblowers who expose abusive conditions on factory farms. At least sixteen states, including Kansas, Montana, North Dakota, Iowa...

Undercover Footage Reveals The Dark Side Of America’s “Most Trusted” Egg

Posted  06/28/16
By Rosie Dawn Griffin Late last week, Mercy for Animals (MFA) released undercover video footage gathered at nine Washington state egg production facilities between February 29 and May 12, 2016. The video contains disturbing images of dreadful conditions and intentional animal abuse. MFA claims the facilities, all owned by Briarwood Farms, supply eggs to Eggland’s Best, a leading egg distributor and, according to...

Jack Wagons or Whistleblowers? Utah Ag-Gag Challenge Escalates in Cross-Motions for Summary Judgement

Posted  06/17/16
By Rosie Dawn Griffin Dead and dying hens packed tight into wire battery cages; sick and injured dairy cows dragged and prodded into the food supply by forklift; sows fed a mash of ground up piglets killed by a highly contagious intestinal disease: industrial animal agriculture should be ashamed of itself. Make no mistake—it is. According to a 2012 lawsuit filed by the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), People...

In Their Own Words — Kerr

Posted  05/26/16

-- “This ruling is a warning to other states that PETA will challenge 'ag-gag' laws, we will win, and it will be costly for the state.”

Jeffrey Kerr, general counsel of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), on a recent ruling ordering Idaho to pay nearly $250,000 to cover the animal rights group’s legal fees following a suit that challenged a rule criminalizing whistleblowing investigations of the...

Interview with 2015 Whistleblower of the Year Craig Watts - Part I

Posted  03/10/16
By the C|C Whistleblower Lawyer Team Here is Part I of our interview with Whistleblower Insider’s 2015 Whistleblower of the Year winner -- Perdue chicken farmer Craig Watts.  After more than twenty years in the business, working on the farm his family has owned since the 1700s, Watts decided to speak out against what he saw as Perdue’s gross mistreatment of chickens.  He invited animal welfare group...

In Their Own Words — Pidot

Posted  01/4/16

-- “When citizens discover and report violations of law or harm to the public’s interest, they exercise First Amendment rights central to the very idea of our democracy.”

Justin Pidot, a law professor at University of Denver, in his brief challenging Wyoming’s “ag-gag” law.

2015 Whistleblower of the Year Candidate -- Perdue Chicken Farmer Whistleblower Craig Watts

Posted  12/18/15
By Gordon Schnell This "Whistleblower Spotlight" features Perdue chicken farmer Craig Watts, one of our candidates for 2015 Whistleblower of the Year.  He is one of the 30,000 contract farmers in the U.S. who work with the handful of Big-Ag poultry producers, like Perdue Farms, that control what goes into the vast majority of chickens we eat.  They also dictate how these chickens are treated.  And after more...

Some Progress for Piggies

Posted  11/13/15
Whistleblowing works.  Especially when there’s video. Earlier this week, news hit that animal welfare group Compassion Over Killing had released a video — obtained by an undercover employee — of unspeakable abuse at Quality Pork Processors (“QPP”), a pork “processing” facility and supplier to Hormel Foods.  Within 48 hours, Hormel promised action.  It said it would be bringing “humane...

In Their Own Words — Quality Pork Processors worker

Posted  11/12/15

-- "That one was definitely alive."

A worker at Quality Pork Processors, a supplier of Hormel Foods and one of the largest pork processers in the U.S.  By law, pigs are supposed to be rendered unconscious before being killed.  An undercover video — which has been shared with the U.S.D.A., prompting serious concerns and promises of a thorough investigation — shows pigs being dragged across the floor, beaten with...
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