I was invited to be the keynote speaker at the Animal Law Conference last month, and when I was there I sat down with the Animal Legal Defense Fund to talk about the role of journalists in protecting animals (and protecting the civil rights of those who are protecting animals).
I hope you’ll check out this brief video about ag-gag laws, which make it illegal to expose animal welfare abuses, food safety violations, and workers’ rights infringements on factory farms and slaughterhouses. [click to continue…]
My latest article for the October 2014 issue of Wired magazine:
The agriculture industry is waging an international campaign to create a media blackout. In response to a series of investigations by animal-welfare groups that has resulted in criminal prosecutions and consumer outrage, the industry is promoting new “ag-gag” laws that make it illegal to photograph factory farms and slaughterhouses. About half a dozen US states currently have these laws, and now this censorship model is being adopted internationally.
So how should journalists respond to investigative methods and sources being criminalised? Just as the best response to governments banning books is to encourage reading them, the best response to banning photographs is to encourage more photography. It’s time for journalists to send in the drones.
As a reporter, I always want to see what’s hidden. When government documents are redacted, it naturally makes them more intriguing. And when factory farms introduce new laws to prohibit media exposure, it makes me want to see what it is that they are hiding. [click to continue…]
I’ve got a few speaking events coming up in the next couple weeks. Hope to see ya’ll there!
Friday, November 7th, 2014
Ciudad de las Ideas, Mexico City
Thursday, November 13th, 2014
George Washington University (Law School Room SCC on 2nd Floor of Lisner Hall, 7pm)
Saturday, November 15th, 2014
Albany Veg Fest (keynote, 12:15 pm)
Thursday, November 20
Vassar College (Rocky 300, 5pm)
Photo courtesy of Colette-Yasi Naraghi
Circle Four Farms sprawls across 90 square miles of land in southwestern Utah. There are about 600,000 hogs here at a time, packed by the thousands into long warehouse sheds. About one million hogs—185 times the human population of the county—are raised at Circle Four each year, making it the largest factory farm in the state; its parent company, Smithfield Foods, is one of the largest in the world.
The farm is so large that its scale is difficult to view from the public road. At best, one could see a few of the sheds, some feed bins, trucks.
But Circle Four Farms has plenty of reasons to be wary of exposure, even from a distance. [click to continue…]