Note: this podcast, featuring our Food Integrity Campaign Director Amanda Hitt, was originally published here.
Amanda Hitt on Why the Animal Agriculture Industry Needs Whistleblowers
In an age where almost everything we eat is produced outside of public view, whistleblowers are critical to maintaining the integrity of our food systems. These principled insiders are often the first people to warn the public — often at grave personal cost — when food is unsafe, when workers face inhumane conditions, when food labels mislead consumers, and when animals and the environment are being abused. But who defends these front-line defenders?
Attorney Amanda Hitt has been a champion and visionary for protecting and empowering food system whistleblowers for over a decade. Hitt is the founder and director of the Food Integrity Campaign of the Government Accountability Project (GAP). Based in Washington, DC, GAP is one of the nation’s leading nonprofits dedicated to whistleblower advocacy and protection. Hitt’s clients have included USDA food safety inspectors in ultra-high-speed slaughterhouses, contract poultry farmers faced with exploitative contracts and company retaliation, and animal researchers privy to taxpayer-funded waste and cruelty.
In addition to litigating whistleblowers’ cases, Hitt and her team work to draw public attention to these whistleblowers’ stories and to turn their revelations into systemic legal reforms. In this episode, Hitt takes us inside the world of animal agriculture industry whistleblowers. We speak with Hitt about her clients’ stories and motivations, the patchwork of laws that provide protections and redress for whistleblowers, the reality behind her video game “Bacon Defender,” and why food animal welfare, public health, and worker rights are inextricably intertwined.