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Freedom of speech

Freedom of speech is recognized as a human right by most developed countries, but its application remains completely theoretical. In the world we live in, it is not the best political, scientific or artistic ideas that become popular, but instead those that are most profitable. An enormous propaganda machine controls most of the information that people have access to. Public opinion and taste is being carefully shaped by the ruling elite in the attempt to create a population of obedient slaves that don't have the mental capacity to challenge their rule.
There is no freedom of speech, and without it, there is no democracy. We are all born with the indisputable power of expressing ourselves. Evolution gave us the enormous potential by allowing us to share ideas and complex or abstract concepts. This natural gift brought us all the cultural and technological development throughout history.
Today we have developed incredible means of communications that allow us to instantly share ideas with people around the globe. Information has no real limits, and if it wasn't for the serious efforts by corporations and oppressive governments to restrain it, we would live in a world where arts, technologies and science would thrive and push humanity back into balance and abundance.

 

"Ag Gag" Bills Would Silence the Whistleblowers

"Ag Gag" Bills Would Silence the Whistleblowers Image courtesy : lifeofalawstudent.com

 

"Ag gag" is the popular term for agri-business sponsored bills, which, if enacted into law, prevent agricultural employees from exposing any cruel, illegal or unsanitary practices of their employers (basically, the types of disclosures often described as "whistleblowing").

The ag-gag bills (sometimes called "anti-whistleblowing" bills) restrict employees from releasing information by making it illegal to take unauthorized photos or videos of a factory farm, preventing investigators from working at factory farms, and requiring that mandatory reporting of abuses at factory farms be made within short, impractical timelines (resulting in the inability to document any pattern of abuse).

Ag-gag bills are a blatant effort by large agri-businesses to shield themselves from the consequences of poorly run operations. By passing the bills, big-ag companies hope to protect themselves from lawsuits and liability that might result if a whistleblower informs the public of any potentially unsafe, unsanitary, cruel or illegal practices in their operations.


The Importance of Whistleblowers

Historically, employees working in agri-business have played an important part in disclosing unacceptable (for example, illegal, cruel, unsafe and unsanitary) conditions at factory farms. For example, through videos and exposés released by whistleblowers employed in factory farms and meat processing plants, the public has learned about animal abuse and cruelty in violation of federal animal-care laws, as well as unsanitary conditions and other violations of USDA laws that endanger food safety. This type of information has led to a number of criminal convictions, factory closures and food recalls. For example, in 2008, after a whistleblower released an undercover video showing a California meatpacking company allowing sick cows enter the meat supply, the USDA ordered 143 million pounds of beef recalled; the largest meat recall in U.S. history.


Agri-Business Industry's Reaction

You might think that the rational response of the agri-business industry to whistleblowers' revelations would be to tighten internal regulations, and self-monitor to prevent abuses. Instead, their reaction (by supporting the ag-gag bills) has been to try to keep the status quo in their operations, while taking away the "whistles" from their employees. The agricultural industry seems to have adopted a strategy of silencing employees, so the public won't find out about the sometimes abhorrent conditions in their factories and plants. Perhaps they're thinking "what they don't know can't hurt them!" While that might not be true for the public (certainly tainted meat can hurt us!), this approach does hurt the big-ag industry's pocketbooks less, since silencing employees is cheaper than making any operational changes.
The Importance of Opposing Ag-Gag Bills.

The agricultural industry has introduced ag-gag bills in many states. Although the details of the bills vary, their impact is the same: protecting the agricultural industry at the expense of the public's right to know. Due to public opposition and activism, thankfully, many of the bills have failed to pass into law. To help ensure a safe, well regulated food supply, the public needs to keep pushing for even more access to information about where there food comes from and how it's produced, not less.
About the Author:

Andrew Miller is a passionate member of the End Ecocide movement, an avid legal blogger and Environmental Law Student. He has worked in marketing for over a decade and finds his passion in bringing concepts to life. As a Socialpreneur, he is an agent for positive social change through both his writing on Legalnews.tv and through his business endeavors.

Originaly posted on: http://www.lifeofalawstudent.com/2013/11/26/bag-the-ag-gag-bills/

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