Protecting Food. Empowering Whistleblowers.

Food Integrity Campaign Blog

New York Times – Letter to the Editor: Silencing Witnesses to Animal Abuse

April 15, 2013

To the Editor:

Re “Open the Slaughterhouses” (Op-Ed, April 9):

Advocates for the meat industry are fundamentally incorrect in their assertion that ag-gag bills offer protection to whistle-blowers. To suggest that 48-hour grace periods for bringing video evidence of animal abuse to the authorities without threat of prosecution benefits whistle-blowers is misleading.

Mandatory reporting is intended to thwart long-form investigations by limiting the amount of evidence needed for successful prosecution. These clauses prematurely surface truth-tellers and allow management to retaliate against conscientious employees, framing the incident as isolated rather than systemic wrongdoing.

Moreover, with such a short turnaround period, potential witnesses indisputably lack adequate time to learn rights, seek support channels or obtain legal counsel.

Director of Food Integrity Campaign
Government Accountability Project
Washington, April 9, 2013