First Online: 2 May 2019, 14 pp
Abstract: As has been the case in Europe, increasing consumer demand for higher welfare products has resulted in improved conditions for farm animals raised for slaughter in the USA and Australia. Consumer awareness has been significantly aided by investigations of farm and slaughterhouse conditions by animal welfare organizations, often working undercover. These gains are now under very serious threat. In eleven states in the USA, and three in Australia, new legislation, coined “Ag-gag” law, has been enacted prohibiting public dissemination of material depicting on farm animal use. In both countries, media corporations and private citizens are liable to up to three years’ imprisonment for publishing photographs or recordings depicting the conditions of animals on farms or at slaughter. Controls on the publication of information documenting animal use compromises transparency in the food chain, erodes the accountability of those involved in the management of animals and undermines the case for enhanced legislation and policy reform. This paper describes recent legal challenges in the USA to the constitutionality of “Ag-gag” laws and evaluates “Ag-gag” laws’ impact on animal welfare in agricultural facilities in the USA and Australia.