Don’t Punish Whistleblowers For Reporting Abuse on Farms

Target: Asa Hutchinson, Arkansas Governor

Goal: Don’t ban undercover investigations of animal abuse on farms and allow businesses to sue whistleblowers.

Animal rights activists could be intimidated into silence by a proposed new law. This bill would favor business privacy over the welfare of consumers and of farm animals within the state, thanks to industry lobbyists who are pushing this latest in a series of so-called “ag-gag” laws. Undercover investigations, such as a recent one done within the state by Last Chance for Animals which revealed horrific abuse at a rabbit slaughterhouse, would be outlawed throughout the state and investigators could be liable for thousands of dollars in fines.

This bill marks the fourth time that Arkansas lawmakers tried to introduce some form of ag-gag law, but this bill is potentially far more dangerous than any previous incarnation. The bill is worded to be inclusive of all such investigations for any business within the state — not just for factory farms. Should the bill pass, nearly any business could sue workers, customers, or journalists who expose illegal or unethical workplace activity. Opponents claim that the proposed law goes too far and violates constitutional rights to freedom of press.

This is a bad piece of legislation which would likely harm people as much as it would animals. In making whistleblowers liable for financial losses a business faces as a result of an investigation, it is likely that many will be intimidated. Those who might otherwise report child abuse, sexual harassment or violations of safety codes at workplaces may instead remain silent for fear of being sued.

Rather than arresting or fining people who are trying to do the right thing, we must be targeting the real culprits — the businesses who would rather cover up their tracks than hurt their bottom line. Sign this petition to demand that whistleblowers and undercover investigators have the right to reveal animal abuse and any other wrongful deed occurring at any business.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Governor Hutchinson,

A bill currently in the Arkansas state senate, HB-1605, would severely restrict the ability of whistleblowers and undercover investigators from revealing wrongdoing at farms and virtually any business within the state. This is a dangerous piece of legislation that must not be enacted into law, as it could cause potential harm to all Arkansans. Child abuse may go unreported at daycare centers, while fraud and insider trading could run rampant at corporations without fear of being discovered.

This is far more than simply an “ag-gag” law, but similar yet much less encompassing laws have been time and again shut down nationwide for violating the constitutional First Amendment rights to freedom of press. It takes the courage of undercover investigators and whistleblowers — the very targets of this bill — to effect change and to hold businesses accountable that might otherwise cause harm to animals, employees or consumers.

Arkansas needs to do more to combat animal abuse and to ensure that workplaces are safe and free of harassment. The intimidation and criminalization of whistleblowers is a terrible step in the wrong direction, and I urge you not to support this bill.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Franzl34

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11 Comments

  1. Arkansas is a backward state just look at it’s past and who all were involved. Ex prisedent Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary Clinton (ha) Look at it’s future! Now they want to kill inmates on deathrow a bunch (historically happening btw) at a time!

  2. TRACY JOSEPH says:

    This will truly be a sad sad day for animals. Just as people are seeing the immoral and unethical ways of factory farming the dairy and meat industries are using their vast amount of power to stop people’s right to know. Like the oil industry trying to hide it’s part in global warming via the corruption of officials so the dairy and meat industries will have serious animal abuses swept under the carpet. Australia is trying to do the same thing.

  3. louis gauci says:

    We have the right to know what is going inside these farms. Such laws are there to protect abusers and nothing else

  4. Tame Zoller says:

    People who are abusive are quite insecure with themselves and life all around. They think they get strength by weakening the innocent and those weaker than themselves.

  5. Bonnie Ruble says:

    The powers to be in agriculture are no different then the crooks in big Pharma. They only want money. They don’t care about human life, they don’t care about animals, they only care about the almighty dollar. Everybody has to die, that day will come for each one of us, and when it comes for them they will definitely not be in the same place as me.

  6. tera tukey says:

    do not ban whistle blowers…nor allow farmers or any one to sue them…people have a right to speak up for the abuse against animals in all the industries…no animals must be abused.

  7. Steve Baer says:

    Dictatorships thrive on darkness.
    Please keep transgressions of morality in the light.
    Thank you.

  8. sheila menache says:

    These people need protection – they are doing what they know is the right thing to do – someone has to stand up for animals and they have the courage to do so. Who are the idiots who want to punish them – whoever they are they need to change their attitude.

  9. Asa – I cannot believe this topic is even being debated. Please use your power and position to educate the world to the fact that the Animal Kingdom are citizens of this Earth, having just as much a right as you and I do to live their lives on this planet, free from torture and murder at the hands of humans. Animals need your voice; please show the world that ALL LIFE should be respected. T

  10. Rosie Boyd Rosie Boyd says:

    Another asshole law being passed by assholes, for assholes. Let’s all protect the assholes of the world …. ship them all off to Arkansas, firstly making sure that all children and animals are evacuated to a state that respects them as innocent, living, breathing, sentient beings.

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