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Factory Farm Investigations Mapped

May 24, 2011

Proposed "Ag Gag" laws threaten the only way that the public can find out how meat, dairy, and eggs are really produced, and reveal that agribusiness wants to hide their activities from the public. Please note: some locations are approximate, or only the city, county, or state is known. If you have any additions or corrections to the information on this page, please email and I will correct it.

The map above locates factory farms that animal protection groups have exposed through undercover investigations. Among the findings of these investigations are animals living in filthy conditions, animals intensively confined for their entire lives, animals mutilated without painkillers, sick and suffering animals left to languish for extended periods, violations of animal welfare and food safety regulations, and egregious criminal acts of animal torture. Viewed individually, the actions shown might be dismissed as isolated incidents. Taken together, however, they reveal a pattern of disregard for animal welfare and routine cruelty-to-animals throughout animal agriculture. They also reveal that many legal, standard agricultural procedures are unconscionably cruel and cause prolonged suffering for animals. Many standard practices in animal agriculture must change, and new laws are needed in order to enforce basic standards of welfare for animals. There are currently no federal laws protecting the welfare of animals on farms.

The routine response from animal agribusinesses is to deny knowledge of or responsibility for the acts of animal cruelty and to blame low- level employees and the investigators themselves. The horrors revealed in these videos are a result of negligence and insufficient oversight by the industry, weak regulation, and no enforcement of current regulations and policies.

Now, agribusinesses are working to hide their abusive activities from the public and from the media. Legislation has been drafted in three states (Florida, Iowa, and Minnesota) that would make these types of exposes illegal. If passed, these laws would impose criminal penalties for creating audio or visual recordings of agriculture operations. Criminal penalties could also be imposed for any media or press organization transmitting any recordings that are made. The legislation has been defeated in Florida, but Florida governor Jim Norman has vowed to bring it back next year.

These laws may be found to be unconstitutional, but they reveal that animal agribusiness and factory farms have no intention of working to end abusive practices that the majority of society finds abhorrent. Instead their strategy is to prevent the public from finding out about what they are doing by making it a crime to expose their routine cruelty to animals. These problems cannot be resolved by voluntary self-regulation coupled with secrecy and a total lack of accountability. The solution to this problem is transparency, strong laws, enforcement, and stiff penalties. To foster transparency, cameras should be installed in all facilities where animals are held captive. New laws are needed to protect the welfare of all animals during the entire time they are on a farm, not to protect big agribusiness from exposure.'s new "Factory Farm Investigations Map" gathers together in one place the 48 undercover video exposes conducted in the United States by HSUS, PETA, MFA and COK since 1998. Especially in light of the recent "Ag Gag" rules proposed in several states, the map can be an incredibly useful tool for raising awareness of agribusiness' systemic animal abuse and the informational value of undercover exposes. Read on to learn how animal activists can use it to both inform the public about factory farm cruelty, and why the movement needs to strategically strike out into virgin territory with new investigations.

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