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Arkansas Close to Passing Egregious Ag-Gag Bill

If HB1665 is passed, the free speech of whistleblowers within a range of industries—including animal agriculture, nursing homes, and schools—will be at risk.

New bill HB1665 is currently on the Senate floor in Arkansas after gaining approval from the state’s House of Representatives. If passed, the ag-gag bill—the common name for legislation that criminalizes whistleblowers within the animal agriculture industry—would allow factory farmers to persecute investigators who uncover animal abuse. As HB1665 does not strictly apply to animal agriculture, employees of other establishments—such as nursing homes, schools, and hospitals—would similarly be criminalized when reporting abuse. “This is a blanket attack on the people of Arkansas’s right to speak out about important social issues,” former undercover investigator at animal-rights organization Mercy for Animals (MFA) Cody Carlson says. “MFA condemns this un-American and unconstitutional bill in the strongest possible terms.” The efforts of investigators such as Carlson have unveiled the abuse present within the animal agriculture industry, putting pressure on meat companies to ban cruel practices, and legislative bodies to create stricter animal welfare standards. MFA has set up a web page to help Arkansas residents contact their lawmakers and urge them to oppose HB1665.

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