CNN Exclusive by CNN Investigative Correspondent Chris Frates
Wake County, North Carolina – Chickens buried alive. Pigs so sick that their intestines hang out of their bodies. These are some of the grisly scenes from videos taken by animal rights activists who went undercover at farms that produce food destined for dinner tables.
It’s a tactic animal rights activists have used for years, going undercover at slaughterhouses and factory farms to document squalid conditions, abuse and neglect. Their videos have gone mainstream and led to criminal charges, fines and even the largest meat recall in American history.
But undercover video is under attack and with it, activists argue, their ability to expose animal abuses that can make meat dangerous to eat.
Blog: Erin Burnett Out Front
Increasingly, industries that have been infiltrated and exposed by undercover activists are counterpunching. In state capitols around the country, the agriculture industry is pushing legislation that would essentially outlaw undercover investigations and the videos they produce.
In the past two years, three states have passed so-called “ag-gag” laws while 14 others have considered similar legislation, according to The Humane Society of the United States.
Matthew Dominguez of the Humane Society, said undercover investigations are a critical tool activists use to keep a secretive industry in check.
“These investigations have exposed not only animal abuse but also food safety, workers’ rights, environmental issues,” he said. “These ag-gag bills should scare every American because Americans have a right to know what’s happening with their food. They have a right to know where their food is coming from.”
Shocking footage from a chicken farm
Prince Poultry is a chicken farm less than an hour southwest of Raleigh, North Carolina. Posing as a college intern, an employee with the animal-rights group Compassion Over Killing filmed workers burying chickens alive among other decaying birds.
In one scene from the video given to CNN, she asks whether a farm hand is going to kill a bird destined for the burial pit.
“No, we’re going to drop them in the pit just like they are,” the worker responds. “You dump them in there and then Mother Nature takes care of the rest. You go in there in the summertime, and it smells real nice over there. If you look down in there, it’s like a gravy that’s simmering and squirming.”
In an interview, the undercover activist, who did not want to be identified, said, “I saw cruel practices every day I was on the farm from the first day to the final day. I'd say everything that you see in the footage is standard there.”
It’s that kind of footage that North Carolina state Sen. Brent Jackson has proposed outlawing. Animal activists say it’s an effort to lock the barn door and keep the public in the dark.
On the floor of the state Senate, we wanted to ask Jackson about his proposal. It was a short conversation.
“I don’t have anything to say to CNN,” the Republican state lawmaker responded.
The North Carolina Poultry Federation and the North Carolina Chamber also declined to talk about Jackson’s proposal.
On the farm where the chickens were buried alive, owner Tim Prince said he was surprised to learn that his former intern was actually an undercover animal rights activist.
“She's taken six weeks of work and narrowed it down to a few bad things I’ve done. And I’ve done it. It's obvious,” Prince told CNN. “She took just a very minute little things that we’ve done wrong.”
Pressed on that point, Prince admitted that people might think burying chickens alive is more than a small transgression and that the birds should have been killed more humanely. But, he says, he does care for his birds. After all, they are his livelihood.
“I try to run a clean business. And there was a few things on there I saw that shouldn’t happen,” he said, adding that he worried how the video would affect his business.
'His choice in terms of how to operate his facility'
The head of the group that produced the video has little sympathy for the chicken farmer.
“What we documented is how he is operating his facility, and it’s unfortunate that what we documented is so egregious that we hope that state authorities will get involved and prosecute this case for burying birds alive,” said Compassion Over Killing executive director Erica Meier. “That was his choice in terms of how to operate his facility.”
The group said it has filed a complaint with local law enforcement authorities. A spokeswoman for the North Carolina Department of Justice confirmed that the State Bureau of Investigation has opened an investigation into alleged animal cruelty at Prince Poultry.
Prince grows about a million chickens a year exclusively for Pilgrim's Pride - the second largest chicken producer in the world that sells chicken to major supermarkets and fast-food restaurants.
"Out of an abundance of caution, we have retrained the grower in question and his employees,” Pilgrim's said in a statement to CNN. “Pilgrim's prioritizes the welfare of our chickens, whether under our direct care or under the care of our contract growers. The proper treatment of animals is one of our core beliefs."
Perhaps one of the most shocking things about factory farms is that there’s almost no one watching them. There is little federal oversight so undercover activists are often the only way abuses are uncovered.
An undercover video shot by a PETA employee shows what the group says are lame and sick pigs left to languish in a so-called junk pen, without veterinary care. At the Wisconsin farm owned by Babcock Genetics, the pigs were so sick their intestines hung out their bodies while others were unable to walk, PETA said. The animal rights group filed a complaint with the local district attorney, who confirmed his office is reviewing it.
In the complaint, PETA included the opinion of experts in veterinarian medicine and pig production.
“They were unanimous in saying that these animals suffered unnecessary and excessive pain,” said PETA’s Dan Paden, adding the animals either needed immediate veterinarian care or to be put down.
If the pigs survived, they would be sold for meat to a slaughterhouse where they would then be inspected, he said.
Could consumers' health be at risk?
Some experts say it might not be safe to eat. Dr. Neal Barnard, president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, said the meat could carry a deadly infection.
“When you look at this kind of footage, what you are really seeing is a cauldron that is just producing bacteria that get into the food that ultimately makes its way into your home,” said Barnard, whose organization advocates a plant-based diet.
“As a doctor,” he said, “I would advise any parent who has ever had a sick kid to realize that these illnesses come from somewhere. Very often they come from the fact that animals are abused and are sick on farms, and we didn’t realize that we were bringing that disease into our homes, threatening our own family.”
Babcock’s company veterinarian, Darwin Kohler, said PETA’s allegations were untrue, even before he saw the video.
“Any allegations are false, because I know what goes on in the barn,” he said.
Eventually, Kohler watched the video, twice, and said it was taken out of context.
"We are committed to caring for animals in a way that protects their well-being. ... A third-party audit of the farm in question is being conducted,” the company said in a statement to CNN. “Based on the audit's findings, we will make appropriate corrective actions if needed."
In both cases, it was the undercover activists' video that brought alleged mistreatment to light. But if supporters of ag-gag laws are successful, these kind of exposés would essentially be outlawed and the abuses they uncover kept behind closed doors.
This story was reported in North Carolina, Wisconsin and Minnesota. CNN’s Glen Dacy contributed.
Blog: Erin Burnett Out Front
Opinion: Exposing animal cruelty is not a crime
Do consumers really want to see where their food comes from?
'Ag gag' laws suppress animal cruelty whistleblowers
Blocking 'ag gag' laws may prolong abuse
What the 'ag gag' bills mean to my farm
Farming in a fishbowl
Let's be honest. American Food companies are not know for their honesty and integrity.
China's food industry has learned from the masters...
@Rebent - After Yulin, recently, I wouldn't be too sure of that... At least there are laws and Animal Protection societies in the USA. Found many of those in China yet?
How about just not abuse animals? Isn't that simpler?
LOl Big surprise, another US Congressman paid off by special interest groups. God forbid someone try to protect innocent animals. We just can't have that. The US Congress must protect sleazy businesses.
That's how I feel. We all know those animals are going to die. But to leave them suffer is just not right.
You missed the bigger problem here, this is another example how our politicians are for sale to the highest bidder.
@ BUBBA – We live in Europe with lots of relatives in the USA (initially Boston), always thought America to be a civilized place, but have been sickened by the savagery of the undercover scenes. Is all this happening in Asia or in the US? Thank heaven for the video's I'd say! Without, we'd soon be back in the Stone Age or worse! – THANK YOU GOOD PEOPLE, BLESS YOUR HEARTS! And please don't be put off by indifferent legislators or governments : this planet mustn't turn into a hell!..
I don't like sneaks. I don't think the workers should abuse the cattle, but I don't like sneaks.
Seeing these videos are the only way that the public can see what HORRENDOUS things that go on behind closed doors!! JUST animals is not a reason to abuse them!!!No matter what...they should be treated HUMANELY and NOT abused and tortured by the POS workers that think NO-ONE is watching!!!!!!
No Karen you try to put human thinking and feelings where it does not exist. If Chickens had even a minor amount of intelligence they would know what their fate is and fight back to survive. Their brain funcion is so primitive that they have no clue what is happening and perhaps that was intentional by mother nature as most animals are food for other animals. Most animals slowly kill their prey... suffocate them at best... You cannot put yourself in the head of a chicken and imagine the horror they are experiencing because they do not think in that manner.
Well what about PIGs?!?!? They have been proven to be intelligent and to have feelings and yet they are defenseless. They are treated HORRIBLY. And just because the chicken can't feel like we do, does not mean it should be treated inhumanely.
You need to come up to date on the animal literature. Animals understand and feel much more than we ever realized, based on carefully-controlled studies. To think otherwise is pure species-chauvinism based on some misguided notion that humans are not only at the top of the food chain, but should be free to abuse lower animals. Just because chickens can't plan ahead (to avoid being slaughtered), doesn't mean they don't suffer physically and psychologically by their treatment on these barbaric farms.
@Karen Genosa - Well said, Karen! Full marks!
In the case of the chickens, you would think pilgrims pride would have an employee on site. I don't like rats either, but since no one else is watching, some one must.
@Uncle John - Too bad! Some people like to be told the truth and see it with their own eyes. No-one need worry if all is so very much OK, do they? And Uncle Sam had better approve of the video's, if for the sake of an eventually better international image alone (not to mention a national one). - All that appears online can now be watched worldwide...
Who Cares? The chickens were going to be disposed of anyway, why not kill them by burial rather than wasting resources on another method? They are chickens! What they experience is not important.
Man, there are some seriously hateful trolls here.
Chickens are sentient beings. (But then, you probably don't know what that means). They feel. To some superior race of aliens, you are but a chicken. Would you like to be treated this way? Would you like your dog or cat to be treated this way? That you find living, feeling beings exploitable like that shows your ignorance. The ability to empathize is a higher-order of emotional development. Now go get your BB gun and shoot some frogs.
Beyond the mistreatment of animals, one must wonder about the health of the animal one is eating. When farmers push their stock too dense for the environment they provide, disease results. The environment must be constantly regulated to ensure a healthy stock.
I suppose it would be too much trouble for you to show the least bit of originality and pick your own username, instead of hijacking somebody else's?
How careless and uncompassionate you are!!!!
Shame we can't do that with you!
They are food. Compassion does not enter the equation. We are talking about Chickens!
YOU are a moron "cardog" let's dispose you in that manner.
Ho-hum another banal troll comment. Hard to get too riled up when the 'outrageous views' are so pedestrian...so dull and ignorant.
My goodness, you can say that again.
@ cardog - ... and you OBVIOUSLY have a chicken brain!!! Want to go through what those (sentient and fully conscious) animals are going through then?
I wouldn't be surprised since it has happened repeatedly that PETA and other organizations were planting the people who are ABUSING the animals as much as the ones filming the abuse. After all the ends justify the means. At least that is what PETA tried to argue when it came to light that the stunt they pulled at the circus was just that a stunt to make the circus look bad so that they could force their agenda on the circus.
@JSB – Peta needn't pull such 'stunts', and I hope they will go on filming the abuse you try to hide!
This was the main reason why I raise my own. Plus its a lot, lot cheaper.
Oh come on for God's sake just quit abusing animals and you don't have to worry about hidden videos. Sissy lawmakers whimping out the the almighty dollar at the expense of creatures with no voice. America 2014 – aren't you proud?
Exactly! If you aren't doing anything deplorable, you shouldn't care about undercover videos. This is disgusting that our food supply feels the need to remain so secretive.
I think a larger issue too is the serial killers in training. If these guys didn't have these farms to exercise their latent sadistic tendencies, we'd see a lot more locked up for assault, murder and general mayhem. Sadly people who take these jobs and act in such a way are driven I think by more than just the desire to earn a paycheck. Psychologically speaking the people on these videos are a very scary group.
Totally agree with you Freddiemac.
I'm pretty sure the meat packing industry has been taken over by illegal aliens so what you say is incorrect.
@John - Well said!
ag-gag laws, the first step towards Soylent Green, yum, yum!!!
Been an Awful lot of Food Recalls the last 2 years, because these Corporate Farms aren't dpoing what their supposed to be doing, and Endangering the public with their tainted food, rather it be Beef or Vegetables !!!!
"Matthew Dominguez of the Humane Society, said undercover investigations are a critical tool activists use to keep a secretive industry in check."
Wow the stripping of our democratic system continues. So now we will make it illegal to expose corruption in any form. Its fine now when we are talking about animal rights but what about when it gets applied to other forms of corruption and abuse?
A few months ago C-SPAN had in-depth coverage of a social issues conference of some sort. A panel on whistle blowers discussed these laws. They said some woman in the midwest has been in jail for two years for videotaping (from across the street) a farm worker herding cattle with a bulldozer. They said the ag-gag laws come from ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council).
I believe the ag-gag laws have a deeper and more insidious purpose than punishing whistleblowers. These laws are designed to exploit the exclusionary rule. The exclusionary rule says that evidence of a crime, obtained illegally, cannot be used in court against the criminal. It is meant to keep the police honest. Comes now this law that makes all evidence collection illegal. Really, red states? Really?
Knowing how animals are treated in these types of facilities, it is much much easier to not support them by being vegetarian. Also, new studies keep emerging that show cows, chickens and pigs as having quite well developed emotions and intelligence. Just because they can't speak, there is no reasonable excuse for their mistreatment. There is a video around that shows a chicken coming up to a boy to receive a hug from the boy for a small example.
None of that is relevant. Humans are at the top of the food chain. Everything else is just food. The treatment of food is not important.
While I am aware answering silly trolls like you only affect you by way of our anger, I'm willing to do so simply so others can see how easily dispensed with you and your fatuous "opinions" are. You speak as though what you say are facts when they are not. What you say is merely your opinion of no greater value than that of anyone else on this board. Only trolls are as dogged and persistent as you, so I'll just deconstruct your easily-disposable reasoning. You have no research showing any of the (de)valuation you cite in your opinion. Your opinion is contrary to the law of the land. Your opinions of the dietary problems of *any* vegetarian diet are without merit or research. You mistakenly speak as though humans were carnivores; they are not, they are omnivores, as are dogs. Cats are carnivores. Your faulty reasoning in regards to the "food chain" limits human free will, empathy, compassion and just behavior beyond what is reasonably believed by the vast majority of Americans, and counter to both legislation, jurisprudence, and common sense. Of your many challenges to commenters here, your posts to a one have been summarily valueless.
@cardog - neither is the treatment of psychos like you, mate! An alien yourself on planet Earth orso?
@mim - Bravo! – And this is what Jon Evans said : "To inflict cruelties on defenceless creatures, or condone such acts, is to abuse one of the cardinal tenets of a civilized society – reverence for life."
We should all b vegetarians..being much healthier is a great side effect of being vegan for humanitarian reasons!!! Everyone should contact their state reps to encourage them not to pass this law!! How could this even b up for legislation? Because the republican party always sides with money & big biz!! They want to save corporations & stock holders money!! This will NEVER stop the practice, just make the person exposing the CRIMES possibly go to jail! UNBELIEVABLE!!!
No, we should not all be vegetarians. You can choose to eat what you want and I'll continue to eat chicken, pig, cow and fish. Don't go telling everyone what you think they should do.
@Doc J - Same applies to you, doesn't it?...
Humans cannot survive on a purely vegetable diet, nor should we. The health consequences are devastating. Bone loss, hair loss, loss of teeth, loss of muscle, skin infections, general weakness, sores all over the body and in the mouth. We need to eat meat, it is how we evolved. Fighting evolution is foolish and pointless.
Proper vegetarian and vegan diets can give you all the nutrition you need without supplementing with meat. The hair loss, etc, that you mention happen when people don't eat the right varieties of foods to give them everything we need to be healthy.
It's absolutely doable, it just takes more attention and planning than it does with an omnivorous diet.
@cardog - By "evolution" -and considering your previous posts – you probably mean, return to the dark ages, presumably. A big ag farmer's son or so?
If there is nothing to hide, then why are they hiding behind their paid stooges in the state houses? Hmmmm? Buy local – support your local farmer! Know who produces your food, how they treat their animals and feel confident you are contributing to local food security and safety.
It's amazing that when Sterling expressed bigoted opinions in a private conversation such that no harm was imposed (until someone else released it) that so many believed that privacy violation was acceptable if it exposed evil. Now that true evil (animal cruelty) that involves actual physical pain and suffering could be exposed, people will let the law-makers circle the wagons as champions of privacy. What a load of crâp!
Shame on Republicans!
Republicans are simply thee right arm of corporations and the Democrats aren't much better.
Interestingly the states that have passed the ag-gag laws are primarily democratic states so shame on the republicans for allowing this to happen!!! Its whoever they pay off republican or democratic so not get of you podium and stop spewing your verbal diarrhea and do something useful or is that above a democrat to actually do something helpful for a change?
The people that really should be ashamed are the sheep lined up behind the current occupier of the White House!
Oh, and the Senate in Iowa that passed this legislation has the dems as a majority party! It was also supported by Tom Harkin, a dem US senator!
This is crazy. Politicians passing lwas to protect criminals. Disgusting. It's all about the donations right congressman?
We give billions to the Big Agriculture in subsidies, and then they use that money to protect themselves from liability? This is counterproductive and these subsidies should stop now. Let them spend their own money for their lawyers.
Taking away the video does not stop the abuse of these animals. Like it or not, the video is a form of free speech, and is not subject to restrictions. Ignore any claimed restrictions, as they are unconstitutional.
Those that try to censor and "outlaw" video are trying to force their control over you, and trying to force you to take them to court which would take years, and then you may simply get an appology. In the meantime, the abuse would continue and the industry would greatly financially benefitm sio they get what they want.
Assert your authority and do not comply with any claimed restrictions or laws that are unconstitutional from the moment of conception. Make THEM take you to court, let it cost THEM the time and money.
@anonymous - Too true!
Videos like these should not be banned!!!! For one, it lets families know where their food is coming from and WHAT TYPE OF PEOPLE it is coming from... in this case, the food is coming from a bunch of sickos!!! For two, it uncovers ANIMAL CRUELTY AND ABUSE THAT THESE FARMERS ARE SUBJECTING THESE PIGS AND CHICKENS TO!!!!! THESE ARE UNACCEPTABLE PRACTICES and THESE ANIMALS DO NOT DESERVE THIS KIND OF TREATMENT! Senators like BRENT JACKSON need to be removed from his position for being a total idiot! Does he not realize that this process on these farms COULD EFFECT HIS FAMILY TOO!? Those farmers need to be ARRESTED and PROSECUTED FOR ANIMAL ABUSE AND CRUELTY and those god awful farms need to be shut down!! Incompetent and horrible people like Prince should not be allowed to care for any one or any animal ever again! I hope Pilgrim's Pride never does business with that place again! Ag-gag laws will be the biggest mistake any state could ever make!! When adults, childrens, and animals start getting sick because we aren't allowed to know where our food comes from, then maybe they'll rethink their stupid decision! I'm sure a few deaths will make them realize that the undercover investigations are beneficial!!!!! Kudos to y'all for taking the time to conduct these undercover investigations! IF it weren't for people like you, animal abuse of chickens and pigs would go unseen!
To think these Giant Corporate Farms are bribing trash politicians to create legislation that protects their disgusting behavior doesn't surprise me. I hope they all get anal cancer and live with their master in hell where they belong.
Trash politicians? You don't get elected in this country with out corporate money, they are ALL on the take.
These animals exist to be slaughtered for food. Until the meat is sold they are the property of the farmer. Property cannot be abused. Food cannot be abused. Cruelty does not apply. As long as the food is safe to eat the farmers have done nothing wrong.
@cardog - What a mean asshole you are! Running a 'dog meat' restaurant' in Chinatown or so? Objection overruled matey!
A real simple way of stopping Ag-gag bills is to boycott eating meat until they drop the bills. It would be safer for all of us in the long run anyway. If they don't want you to know what is happening to your food,there is a reason for that.And that reason could make you horribly ill. Better NOT to eat it until the Ag business' are willing to open up about what happens on they're farms.
With rare exception, most of the deadly food-borne illness outbreaks have come from improper handling of vegetables by distributors and producers. E. Coli kills more people than Salmonella. Meat isn't any more unhealthy for you than any other diet, and it is a diet we are naturally adapted for. However, if you want to go full vegan and complete your devolution into an Eloi, then feel free.
FoodNet identified 19,056 cases of culture-confirmed bacterial and laboratory-confirmed parasitic infection, 4,200 hospitalizations, and 80 deaths among 48 million residents of 10 states (15% of the US population).
The most frequent infection was caused by Salmonella accounting for 38% of reported infections, and the second by Campylobacter (35%). Vibrio accounted for 1.3% of reported infections.
The same CDC "FoodNet" website shows that 48% of all foodborne illnesses from 1998-2008 were derived from produce... So vegetarian diet or not, your odds of food borne illness are about the same.
oops, typo... 46%
Do you know where e-coli comes from?
You never here of anyone getting these illnesses from eating M&M's or Snickers bars. I'm sticking to a diet of candy bars. ;-)
Sorry but animals need to be treated in humane way – I got no problem with eating meat but if we are going to raise animals for this purpose then from birth to death they need to be treated in a kind and humane way. They are going to feed you; the least we can do is treat them with dignity.
About the undercover photography: It is fundamentally to open society. To name just a few things undercover work by people like Lewis Hine led to inthe early 20th century child labor laws, or Upton Sinclair whose work help create FDA 1906 to the present times – Middle East issues and our prison in Cuba...
Why? We are going to kill and eat them. Why does it matter how they live?
@cardog - There goes that asshole again! In which grade are you, mate?
Wow. This is one of the most one-sided stories I've ever read. There was no mention of WHY the senator proposed the bill. If he didn't want to comment you could have at least read through the bill to see his reasons.
I do NOT support animal cruelty. But this article only fans the flames of political opposition.
Got a link to that bill? And did he actually write it or was that sent to him by Tyson, et al?
No I don't have a link. I was just pointing out that there must me some reason for it. Nothing would be passed if the only reasoning is "We just don't want anyone to see what we're doing."
It might be bad reasoning, but I'm not going to make a judgment on what side I stand unless I have info from both sides.
What you are saying is common sense. This article was not written to expose facts, it was written to paint Republicans as inhumane corporate servants.
Journalism with an agenda.
do they ever write a bill? I thought the industries write them as the industries are the experts in that field. Like our new healthcare, it was written by the insurance companies.
I'm sure his bill will help the people, just like the healthcare will help the people.
Wonder why the senator didn't want to comment?! Too deep for us ordinary folks to understand? Need a whole book to explain?
He possibly didn't want to comment because he isn't interested in feeding the political circus that our news agencies have become.
Interesting. In your view, what might be a "good" reason to sponsor such a bill, given what the recordings incontrovertibly exposed?
I'm not sure (because I don't have the info from that side). But I do know that when it's done undercover the person doing the video could very easily misrepresent what is going on. Or even deliberately try to deceive.
Why don't we ban these secret recordings and just put video recorders in all processing plants/farms like we do in convenience stores so they KNOW they're being recorded all the time?
That's a great idea Ally. But unfortunately that's not what ag-gag bills are proposing. I hope you will continue to fight with all of us for animal rights, and thank you for caring. That's more than most people can say. Fight on for these helpless kind animals!
@All - I expect they'd find ways for abuse where they cannot be recorded! I am in favour of officially enforced camera and tapes, nevertheless. With secret locations...!
Really Ally ? I guess we are all just to stupid to understand what is really going on here right ? Why don't you explain it to us little people Ally because we don't know what senator dollar sign true intentions were or why he will not talk about it to the people that elected his filthy hide into office.
There was no malice in my post. Is there corruption in government. Heck yes. Do you know for SURE this particular idea was bought? No. Please don't jump to attacking me just because you read something into my post that was not there.
I've read the bill and it basically states that the agriculture industry deserves privacy in their business practices just like any other business.
....you can think what you want of that.
I think it's just an excuse to hide reality from the population so that they can continue to produce more income.
If businesses were exposed for child labor and then asked for privacy, our government wouldn't flinch. It's ridiculous that animals are treated as less than anything other than equals.
Jews, women, African Americans, and now animals are enduring discrimination and abuse.
Money is the root of all evil and people are slaves to it. This is all happening to these helpless animals to make a dollar.
That's interesting. If it is just about privacy of business I'm surprised so many other ag-gag laws have passed elsewhere.
In an above post I wondered why we don't just put video cameras in all the farms/processing plants like in convenience stores...the more I think about it the more I like that idea. It would certainly be more reliable than secret videos done with bias. And the farms would know they're on camera. Much more effective than an activist snooping around for a couple of weeks.
I understand your point not showing the other side of why they would want to pass the bill, but unfortunately their reasoning for not wanting to pass the bill is truly just a cover up. Ultimately they want to keep production and money flowing and when farmers are scared they will face legal punishment they probably don't want to continue in their business. The government is trying to make more profit. That's all they ever care about. Money. Even if it means excruciating pain for people or animals alike. I understand that you don't think it's a fair article, however media is meant to pull emotion and raise awareness. You can do your own research to get a more well rounded view of all sides but I am extremely grateful that CNN has decided to jump in on this and help raise awareness of the harsh realities of the meat industry. Better that they post something about these ag-gag laws rather than nothing. People need to know.
I'm just happy there was someone who answered with information instead of challenge. I still prefer journalism where the writer makes a conscious effort to put forth both sides and lets the people choose. Articles like this that are very one-sided incites outrage (as we see by most of the posts here). And in a lot of cases there is good information from the cheated side that isn't even considered...and the people who don't do their own research are fooled.
Abuse of our food animals is barbaric. There must be some above-board way to weed out the bad ones. This story has done some good, because now I'm motivated to do more research. Into both sides of the issue. Have a good day, Sarah.
I have been in a slaughterhouse and I did grow up around the attrition that often comes with farm life. The difference between that and a factory farm is that a factory farm is simply a profitized organization. If you meet a farmer from this type of farm and a farmer like my Dad- 2 completely different philosophies. Anyone, and I mean anyone, that can condone behaviors here that grew up on farms- such as pigs walking aroung with intestines out of the body and now vet care takes no pride in being a farmer. How you take care of your place of business and the animals you raise is a direct reflection of you. My father taught me that. Anyone that does not believe that cutting corners leads to foodborne illnesses is also fooling themselves. There is no industry that should be above oversight. My father and grandfather (also a farmer) taught me that as well.
Most of you don't understand the seriousness of this situation. People being caught behaving badly, whether by undercover video or any other means, is resulting in the rising integrity and positive behavior of the entire human race. This MUST STOP! Think of what it would do the the economy if, all of a sudden, people stopped behaving badly, all because it's getting harder and harder to get away with it. Criminal courts would dry up. Communities relying on fines for bad behavior would go bankrupt. Law enforcement, as an industry, would die. Not to mention all those crazies with too much idle time on their hands. What if they all flip out one day and commit an act of niceness? What then!
I say, again: Down With Exposing The Truth!
the above typed (very well) in Sarcastic Font 1 !
This is why my family and I have become vegetarians. As a result, we are now happier and healthier, and no longer need to feel like we have blood on our hands when we read articles like this. The fact that corruption runs so rampant that it can prevent and criminalize one from exposing cruelty like this, and all that it brings, is beyond my comprehension.
ALL THOSE PLANTS???
Plants don't make a noise when you kill them, so it is ok.
What about the poor veggies! How could you possibly eat 'Bob or Larry".
Inflicting a vegetarian diet on any human is cruel and barbaric. We evolved to eat meat, and we have secured our place at the top of the food chain, which means that all other creatures are nothing more than resources for us to consume. If you are forcing your children to be vegetarians, you should be prosecuted for child abuse, neglect, and attempted murder.
Your stupidity hurts my brain. Have you read any of the current medical research related to vegetarianism? Studies have shown, over and over again, that we are not carnivores. Our teeth and digestive systems look NOTHING like those of carnivores. We are dying of cancers and high blood pressure and other diseases in droves because our bodies are not meant to eat the way American society currently eats.
We are not herbivores either. We require the proteins found in meat, red meat in particular. Vegetables cannot fill these needs.
@cardog - What a lot of CODSWALLOP! Are you enjoying your sadistic imbecility or so?
So states the urban radical animal rights wackjob.
Plenty of animals and insects die during the harvesting of vegan foods. There is still blood on your hands.
Wow ban this, ban that. I thought true conservatives were into smaller, less intrusive government. Oh wait, this is down south where the fake conservatives live. Seems like activist government to me
You mean curtailing the suffering of animals? That is what sounds "activist" to you? That is what you're against?
I think he meant the ban of videos to expose such things. That's the way I took it.
They can speak for themselves, but I think they were talking bout the legislation, not the undercover work.
"Wow ban this, ban that. I thought true conservatives were into smaller, less intrusive government."
Well, what there talking about banning here is people being intrusive, so...
please join facebook group North Carolina Farmed Animal Save now to learn about an upcoming action regarding this situation. we are a group dedicated to bearing witness to the animal holocaust here in NC. may all farmed animals be free from suffering.
'animal holocaust' wow. Drama queen much?
@cardog - Which planet have you come from, and on which planet do you belong?... Yours is schoolboy drivel that's all! Or maybe go back to school and get the rudiments of an education, O.K?!
...and I belong to a group dedicated to destroying urban AR creeps like you and put you in the hospital.
USA gets more disgusting by the day.
This is why I only buy local.
So the animal farm owners (etc) want to make a law so they can break the law. Pathetic.
I think a Change dot Org petition may be in line.
You can bet the Supreme Court will ban these videos. Must protect businesses from prying eyes. A matter of privacy vs public safety and we know what the GOP Supreme Court says.
@Tychi - Public safety or sadism made public...?
If the gag laws are put in place then it is obvious that the tail is wagging the dog. All of the regulatory agencies are pretty much worthless which they have continuously demonstrated time and time again. This goes for every other regulated industry out there. There is no apparent concern for the public welfare, just profits. The regulatory agencies have not been doing their jobs as they only cater to big business and it seems like recalls are more like band-aids to the bigger problem. Maybe it is time for the general public to pay more attention to what is going on and take action. I am not a vegetarian but I am strongly considering the prospect of eradicating all commercial meat products from my diet with the idea in mind to hit them in the pocketbooks as a way to force them to do the right, and responsible, thing.
Would Erin Burnett please sit up straight, looks like she's eating a plate of spaghetti.
I think a lot of activists would like to make eating meat illegal if they could and I often object to their imposing their values on everyone. However, laws protecting big companies from whistle blowers is totally corrupt and very dangerous. Blocking information is a very dangerous thing.
@Mike - 'Activists' are not trying to impose their views about meat on anybody, as far as i am aware. If the public refuses to draw its own conclusions so be it!
Then you really aren't aware of very much at all.
Has anyone that has posted on here ever raised livestock, or set foot inside a slaughterhouse / meat packing plant? It's pretty easy to take things out of context and judge others when you have no firsthand knowledge.
I raise chickens. I would never, ever bury one alive. Nor would I house them in tiny cages, cut their beaks off, or leave them without proper care. Their run is kept clean, their water changed daily. In mass quantities, if you cannot take care of their basic needs as living things, then maybe you shouldn't be in charge of raising them.
I worked in a beef packing firm in Omaha back in the 70's. Haven't eaten beef since. I recommend to everyone that eats "factory" food to support efforts to bring some sunshine into the process. Consumers have the right to know where and how their food is processed. It's not just about humane butchering. Just ask anyone that knows somebody with Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease (mad cow disease) or any one of the other millions of illnesses caused by food producers that process their wares without adequate oversight. And don't fool yourselves. The FDA has been rendered toothless after years of industry lobbying.
Good for you, avrwebguy! Please keep speaking out - I think people will likely listen to you because of your experience.
"Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease" (CJD) is NOT mad cow disease. Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) is the TSE that is linked to "mad cow". They have somewhat similar symptoms, but they absolutely are not the same disease. If fact, I challenge you to produce anybody in this country who has vCJD.
Will a CDC fact sheet suffice? http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/vcjd/factsheet_nvcjd.htm
The CDC fact sheet from http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/vcjd/factsheet_nvcjd.htm shows 4 cases in the US since 1996
@ Sidewinder – I know full well how many cases of vCJD there HAVE BEEN in the U.S. I also know that none of them were believed to have been contracted here. Now work on your reading comprehension a little and go back and read my challenge again. Then come back with an answer to the challenge I posed.
I was just trying to provide more information for the discussion, Mr Snarky pants. My reading comprehension is just fine by the way. Your challenge: "If fact, I challenge you to produce anybody in this country who has vCJD." is actually rhetorical since HIPAA rules would make "producing anybody in this country who has vCJD" quite impossible, and probably illegal. And in reading the CDC fact sheet, only two of the four US cases were tracked to other countries of origin: "Two of the four U.S. cases, two of the four cases from Ireland, one of the two cases from Canada, and the single case from Japan were likely exposed to the BSE agent while residing in the United Kingdom." So that leaves two cases where the country of origin may well be the US, though there is SUSPICION that one may have occurred in Saudi and the fourth individual traveled in Europe extensively. Comprende?
I comprende quite well. Every case of vCJD is supposed to be reported to the CDC, so that makes your "HIPAA" argument moot. The original poster implied there's a lot of BSE-related CJD out there – in the U.S., I presume – and that is simply not true. Your "lead-in" to the link you posted appeared to be supporting that position. And, lastly, if you will re-read my original response to you, you will find I stated that none of the four cases "were believed" to have originated in the US, not that they didn't or couldn't have originated in the US. Comprende?
A lot has changed since the 70's Every inch of a packing plant is scrubbed nightly with all sorts of antibacterial cleaners. Watch History Channels Modern Marvels season 12 episode 6 " the butcher" to catch up on the industry since you left.
There is NO CONTEXT in which these documented actions are acceptable. Any attempt to justify them is appalling!
Says who? As long as the food is safe to eat, they can do whtever they want to the animals. I don't care.
@Jeff - If by 'documented actions' you mean the undercover investigations : WELL SAID.
Do you work for that factory farm by any chance?
I figure you probably do or you wouldn't have made that ridiculous statement.
Nope 6th generation family farm. Most people watching the video have no idea that livestock animals will occasionally rip their anus from pushing to hard and push some of their intestines out. Normal procedure is to separate that animal away from the others so a veterinarian can sew it back up. If the animal was kept in the pen with the other animals it would get the intestines ripped off and out by the other animals( especially pigs and cattle ) The other part of the story the chickens should be killed before they were thrown in the pit. The employee even said that's the way it should be done, but they were just to lazy to do it.
Please re-read my comment Lora. What I was referring to was the way government feels it's ok to bend the laws to the point of breaking these days, and stifling our freedom of speech and freedom of the press in the process. I was in no way defending people who operate like the ones in this article.
Yes, I have.
And down cattle, down pigs, are considered unhealthy and potentially diseased animals unless and until a vet clears them. They are not to processed and put into the food supply. We have rules and standards for a reason. The safety of our food suply must be protected.
I agree the food supply should be protected. my point was the video ( at least the pig part is easily taken out of context ) the fact the the sick pigs were separated from the rest doesn't show animal abuse, if the video was a time lapse and no veterinarian came to check them out for day that would be abuse, but from the video we have no way of knowing if they just became sick or had been that way for days. The veterinarian could have shown up right after the video was taken or it could have been days, without more info it can easily be taken out of context and misrepresented.
I was raised on a farm and am here to tell you, an animal walking around with its intestines hanging out is NOT out of context. I don't know what sad slaughterhouse you worked in. Let people know so they know not to buy meat from there.
State lawmakers can only hold the gates back so long. Banning these videos violates First Amendment rights and most particularly the basic tenets of capitalism, in that the market works best when ALL parties have full information. Preventing consumers from seeing how these industry farms actually violates our rights as consumers as well. We deserve to know what we are paying for and eating. At some point, these laws will come before the Federal and Supreme court and more than likely be struck down.
Big business does not want capitalism, they want corporatism.
@zeke - What they want is power (and big money, of course...). As everyone knows : power corrupts!
Sen. Brent Jackson
“I don’t have anything to say to CNN,” the Republican state lawmaker responded. I wonder were he's getting his campaign contributions from. We all know legislation can be bought with a envelope full of a "cash campaign contribution".
No, you are totally off base. A private company has a right to privacy concerning its business practices. Trade secrets could be compromised by these videos. You don't see Intel letting potential competitors video what goes on in their labs do you? This has nothing to do with feee speech (1st amendment). The activist is welcome to engage in any speech they want. The problem is when they go on to private property and film the private activities of a private company.
Huge thank you to CNN, Chris Frates, and Glen Dacy for exposing the TRUTH about what's going on with factory-farm animals, the animal agriculture system and the politics woven within.
This is a major concern for our animals, people, and our environment. We all have been so indoctrinated into thinking it's normal, healthy, and acceptable to use and abuse animals that we don't even think about them or the system.
These laws are a sign of peoples lack of compassion, lack of integrity, and greed. It's a step back in evolving humanity and consciousness. It's modern day slavery. It's speciesism and from my view-point—it's more prominent than racism. It demonstrates how unaware and uneducated the general public is about food, health, and wellness.
Speciesism? Really? Pigs have the right to be turned into tasty bacon, not the right to live long peacful lives.
If you know that eating yellow snow is a bad thing, why would you give any credence to a posting from a Golden Light moniker?
Humans are the top of the food chain. Everything else is just a resource for us to consume. Call it whatever you want, but yes, humans are much more important than animals.
@Golden Light Journey. - This is so true. And not only for the USA!
Sorry, but I don't want a pig with its intestines hanging out to be shot up with a bunch of medicine and then sold for us to eat. I can't believe they do that. Just put them down and donate the mets to people who really need it. They talk about how we should be worried about our food quality but they would rather sacrifice the animals life over is eating that disgusting meat with intestines hanging out and ****.
Animals that shouldn't make it into our food supply regularly do so, endangering health of the public.
But by all means, criminalize the whistleblowing that exposes these dangerous practices, instead of criminalizing the ones actually endangering our food supply.
@bob - I fail to see the sense of this comment, quite frankly...
so the activists would be happier if these animals were walked down a red carpet through a hall lined with red velvet and gold on the walls with chandeliers, all while wearing Gucci and tiffany jewelry.
food is not pampered
Never did anyone say these animals should be "walked down the red carpet." There are humane ways to kill these animals. Burying them alive, and keeping animals so ill their innards are hanging out, were some of the things the whistleblowers objected to. I think it's fair to say that most of us would find such actions objectionable.
It amazes me, in the 21st Century we still have people so backwards, so unevolved that they care nothing for the feelings of animals. Psychopaths I understand. They want to be intentionally cruel, and have no emotion over it other than fulfillment. But people so self-centered they know of suffering but dismiss it with a sniff...those people I worry about. More than that, I think perhaps they themselves are future psychopaths.
Perhaps they will be the first crop harvested when Soilent Green becomes reality?
People are hard to move. No more X seems great, until you are beat down for a 9hr shift, and just want a burger.
We have reached a point in society, where we cannot have both. We want 24/7 instant gratification meals, but, then we moan and complain about animals being treated like a product.
This is what commercialization of the food industry looks like. We can't have meat in every store, and meat on every table, at the lowest prices, without sacrificing the element that makes it more than food.
We either have expensive, well cared for meat we can find in most places, or low grade mass produced products available everywhere at a cost of the animality? of the animals.
The problem with people who do not step up and take action, IS the other extreme. Many people would be willing to join up and support "Meat is tasty, lets care for it" or the "Free-Range" movement, but, when the chips are down, Mcdonalds is paying to advertise, and people go for the cheap.
The last side of this, IS the way the movement is advertised.
Most people know this is wrong, and would more than likely change the system they use, however, what people hate more than anything else in the world, trumping even public bathrooms, and farting in elevators, is being judged.
And if there is one movement that you can continually rely on to be so self-righteous and judgmental that they would willingly drive off anyone who does not fit into there definition of correct, it is the PETA/Vegan/Activist category.
"Meat is murder" tattoos and spitting on fur wearers are the face of the animal cruelty movement in the news, and that is what people see, and what people believe.
My experience comes from a love of the outdoors. And public groups for meetup/adventure groups, this topic always comes up.
More often then not, 10-15 people can have a meaningful discussion, and make some progress towards a solution, that people can use daily, such as dishes that spread the use of light, expensive "friendly" meat, over a weeks worth of dinners, or good storage methods, and then "that" person, and his or her stooge show up.
There are always 2, a master, and an apprentice, for they will never speak up smaller numbers, so they bring a stooge.
This idiot will proceed to tell everyone how awful they are, and use ridicule to make they feel better about there lifestyle. IE, terrible human beings.
These people are as bad to the "Non-mass produced" food future, as are the people who straight out ignore the problem. I would argue they may even be worse, as a negative publicity tool.
But, I digress.
If we want this fixed, it needs a societal change. We have to come together, and agree, that as a society, we have to change this.
The movies help, but the groups producing them do not.
Are you concerned about the feelings of the rock that was mined and processed to create the metal that your car was made out of? Animals are just another resource. Their 'state of mind' is completely irrelevant.
Your comment is beyond ridiculous it would have been better if you didn't leave one at all . The article is raising awareness to the type of abuse animals endure everyday and that these sick animals make it to grocery stores, fast food chains and then ultimately on your kitchen table.
Seems like the activists here are the supposed conservative state legislators. Yes true conservative believe in smaller, less intrusive government. But this is down south, this is southern conservatism. Lot of times has nothing to do with smaller less intrusive government there
That's not what its about.
I'm not an activist.
i LOVE meat.
But down cattle, down pigs, are considered unhealthy and potentially diseased animals unless and until a vet clears them. They are not to processed and put into the food supply precisely because they are a potential risk. We have rules and standards for a reason. The safety of our food suply must be protected.
And just because an animal is raised for food, doesnt justify in any way the taking of pleasure from killing an animal or causing it undue cruelty in the process. No one expects a red carpet, but people also dont expect someone to fetishize the taking of life.
You've got to be one of the least intelligent people on this earth. You can't figure out that a sickly animal could quickly be euthanized before burying it? I don't want sick animals in our food supply, but the inhumanity of disposing the animals by burying them alive (and I've read of other disgusting methods) is beyond any reasonable person's conscience.
You couldn't figure out that there are alternatives other than walking them down the red carpet? You must be a conservative – you have neither compassion nor critical thinking skills.
Dead is dead, and we are talking about chickens. I don't care if they die before or after being buried.
You sound like a wife abuser, child abuser and or animal abuser. In your world, not being tortured or terrorized is equated with red carpet treatment, meaning you consider torture and terrorizing living things as ordinary, humdrum, ho-hum, every day activities. I imagine you are the kind of guy who after a bad day at work, comes how and tortures the family pet in front of the wife and kids for the titillation and thrill of hearing the animal squealing in pain and watching your family cry and beg you to stop torturing the family pet, good fun, no red carpet treatment in your house by gum!
@smgordon - More codswallop! I bet you hope the red carpet be displayed so YOU can walk on it in full glory?! – By the way: people are animals too. Remember Darwin? – Trouble is non-human animals behave better than the other species...
Bravo and hats off to all the undercover investigators doing dangerous and distressing work to bring animal cruelty to the mainstream. Without these videos we would know NOTHNIG of the cruelty at factory farms and slaughterhouses. And that's how big agra want it – they want you to stay ignorant and in the dark so they can peddle the myth that dairy and meat is necessary for your survival. Read, educate and make the compassionate choice to go vegan.
@Fiona - Happy to hear there are still a few compassionate people in this world!
If there was ever any clearer indication that corporations have begun influencing politics to protect their interests, I haven't seen it. This gradual encroachment of corporations into government should scare everyone, because it means that you're slowly losing your rights to the rich people who own stock in these corporations. Big money is behind the laws that are now being made to control what you know about where your food comes from...does everyone get that? They have no right to keep you from knowing the truth, a gigantic corporation has absolutely no right to decide what kind of information you get to know.
Those videos were really hard to watch. But if these videos weren't taken, then we would only have the meat industry's reassurances about animal welfare to go off of. The people like the veterinarian making the statements that the farms are clean and safe have probably never set foot in those farms before. The industry has excellent PR people, but poor ethical standing. Please keep us updated on Ag-Gag legislation and issues related to factory farming!
Its all about the money. Its all that matters in the USA today. Corporations and wealthy now run this country, it is NOT a Democracy anymore and they want as much of the poors $$$$$ to keep their lifestyle. Nothing left in America but the haves and the have nots, the American Dream is no more other than a fairy tale. Americans have to take back this country, sooner or later the public will say enough is enough, but when will that be? Our children will suffer like 3rd world countries children and pay for the way we let it go today.
"We have the right to know where our food comes from", yet we have no GMO labeling.
Companies already put labels for non-GMO foods. Plus there is no evidence that anyone can ever show supporting claims that GMO is bad for you, Over all they are better for you because most need less pesticide meaning less in us.
@Ryan - ... and how our said 'food' got treated before it was turned into 'food'
The videos are Journalism, pure and simple.
These laws will fall.
How much of animal abuse a person can tolerate or willing to tolerate is personal atribute (unless it is plain illegal). So, not much thought on animal abuse part but this article certainly made me think about what I am eating.
Anyone caught treating their pets this way, the same as shown on the videos, would be convicted of abuse.
@Seong - And I have been thinking those who do not consider the abuse or simply refuse to, deserve what they get on their plates!!!
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