The New York legislative session ends today, rendering the New York Ag Gag bill (S 5172) officially dead for the year. Had this bill passed, it would have made it illegal to conduct undercover exposés of factory farms in the state of New York.
Introduced by Senator Patty Ritchie (R – 48th District), S-5172 had advanced through the early stages of the legislative process, quietly passing through the Agriculture committee and making its way to the Senate floor. After the required three “reading” days, it could have been eligible for a vote if the Senate Majority Leader Dean Kelos had chosen to bring it up for debate. Fortunately, the session ended before this issue was debated and we–and the animals–can breathe a collective sigh of relief for the right to expose the horrific conditions inside New York State’s factory farms — at least for this legislative year.
New York was the fourth state this year to introduce an “Ag Gag” bill intended to shut down undercover investigations exposing the abuses behind the closed doors of animal agribusiness. While we celebrate the failed attempts to curtail our First Amendment rights in New York as well Minnesota and Florida, we’re still carefully watching Iowa, where a similar Ag Gag bill is still pending, and we encourage Iowans to voice their opposition.