Ag-gag Bill 156: Ontario is Trying to Hide Animal Cruelty on Farms

Ontario introduced an agricultural gag legislation today called Bill 156 – Security From Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act. While animal agriculture is destroying the Amazon and causing climate change, it’s ironic this bill has “security” in it’s title.

The bill targets whistleblowers and journalists by making it illegal to be present on farms and food-processing facilities to expose cruelty. It also prohibits the public from temporarily stopping transport trucks carrying animals that are on their way to slaughter.

This mimics the immoral legislative initiatives in Alberta, North Carolina and Arkansas. In a country that has a focus on equality, justice and transparency, this bill is in reverse gear. The meat industry does not need secrecy, it needs oversight. But instead, dark forces in the meat industry want to cover up the truth. You can’t fight a monster that you can’t see.

Besides the issue of farms being able to hide the horrible living conditions and treatment of farm animals, this is also a freedom of speech issue. Seeking knowledge is a deep instinct. This bill is cautioning people from being courageous and engaged to expose the truth behind injustice. The one thing these industries do not realize is that animal activists will continue to take risks to expose animal cruelty, whether handcuffed or not.

Not only is this bill going to make their essential work even more dangerous, it is endangering the public by barring important illegal activities from being exposed otherwise. A law that seeks to hide and place an industry in the dark is always trying to hide something they do not want the public to see. Almost every farm that has been criminally investigated for animal cruelty, happened because of an undercover investigation that reported the matters.

Animal agriculture is also at the forefront of being one of the major contributors to climate change. Amidst the current climate emergency that the world is facing, what we need is more oversight over the animal agricultural industry, not more secrecy. The world cannot afford us to be silent anymore and bills like these simply are unconstitutional.

Actions You Can Take

Our government believes in businesses self-regulating themselves and responds favorably to requests from private businesses to oppose freedom of information proposals and laws. A fundamental way to change that situation is to vote to keep that kind of government out of power.