Animal Rights Activist Charged for Video Exposing Cruelty

December 4, 2013

Reporting on abuse of animals is now officially a crime — at least under Colorado law. Animal-rights activist Taylor Radig was charged after she made public a video showing employees of a Colorado ranch abusing calves. The video led to cruelty arrests for three ranch employees.

Radig was charged by the Weld County sheriff's office under a Catch-22 provision making it a crime for someone witnessing animal cruelty not to report it immediately. Animal rights group members often go undercover as employees for months to document animal abuse. Requiring them to come forth with complaints at the first sign of abuse makes longer-term investigations impossible.

At least five states have passed "Ag-Gag" laws seeking to prevent investigations of animal cruelty. Typically, they make such investigations difficult by making it illegal for people to hide affiliation with anti-cruelty groups when they fill out employment applications. Ag-Gag bills are still being pushed in many states, with lobbying supported by the pro-industry American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and funding from well-heeled conservatives like the Koch brothers.

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