Protecting Food. Empowering Whistleblowers.

Food Integrity Campaign Blog

Washington Ag Gag Bill Likely “Can’t Move Any Further”

Sarah Damian | January 21, 2015

Without brave whistleblowers exposing the truth at factory farms and other stops along the food supply, the public would be completely in the dark about the food they eat. Yet Big Ag and the politicians they lobby are still making desperate attempts to silence truth-tellers.

Unsurprisingly, anti-whistleblower Ag Gag bills are back again in several states as the 2015 legislative session opened in January. Particularly, a bill in Washington state was introduced that intends to “squelch revelations about cruel or unsafe conditions in the facilities that process our food.” It was modeled after Idaho’s controversial law, which now faces constitutional challenges in federal court.

However, the food truth community will be happy to know that the Washington bill may not see the light of day for much longer. Yesterday, Washington’s House Public Safety Committee heard testimony for and against the bill (with a serious push from the opposition). Following discussion with his colleagues, committee chairman Roger Goodman said “it’s pretty clear that the bill can’t move any further.” Good news indeed!

Associated Press reports:

It the committee fails to advance the bill, it could be revived through legislative maneuvering. But it faces several hurdles before it could become law.

FIC has been fighting Ag Gag bills since they began popping up like crazy in 2011. Whistleblowers often lack a safe outlet to expose wrongdoing without fear of retaliation. Many of our clients wouldn’t be able to safely speak out – and make sure the public isn’t in the dark about our food system – if Ag Gag was a reality nationwide.

In order to raise awareness about the harmful legislation, the Campaign produced a video series called Ag Gag Undercover. We also launched a petition urging Congress to stop Ag Gag and protect agricultural whistleblowers.

Four other states besides Washington have introduced various Ag Gag bills so far this year, including Colorado, Missouri, Montana and Wyoming. Stay tuned for updates on campaign efforts to challenge these measures.

 

Sarah Damian is Communications Manager for the Food Integrity Campaign.

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