Gagging on ag-gag laws


Factory farms are not farms at all. They are corporate-run concentration camps for pigs, cows, chickens, turkeys and other food animals.

Held in corporate confinement, these creatures of nature are denied any contact with their natural world, instead being crammed by the thousands into concrete-and-metal buildings where they are locked in torturously tiny cages for the duration of their so-called “life” — which is nasty, brutish and short. All so food giants like Tyson, Smithfield and Borden can grab fatter and quicker profits. It’s so disgusting that America’s consumers would gag at the sight of it.

That’s why the profiteers are desperate to keep you from knowing what goes on inside their factories. Nonetheless, word has been getting out as animal-rights advocates, consumer groups, unions and others have exposed some of the disgusting realities of animal confinement to the public, including showing retch-inducing photos and videos. Rather than cleaning up their act, however, the industrial food powers have simply doubled down on disgusting. Their lobbyists have been swarming state legislatures to demand passage of laws that single out anyone who reveals the industry’s ugly secrets, summarily stripping such whistleblowers of their Constitutional right of free speech.

The only thing that will gag you worse than viewing the gross animal abuse taking place in these factories is to look at the grossly repressive and aptly named “ag-gag” bills moving through the legislative sausage mills of various states. The bills are ridiculous — but so are some legislatures, where corporate money trumps both common sense and the Constitution. Six states have passed ag-gag laws, and six more are moving toward passage. To see what’s happening in your state, go to

Respond: This opinion column does not necessarily reflect the views of Boulder Weekly.