Why Investigations?

In the last several years, dozens of undercover investigations by Mercy For Animals and other animal protection groups have uncovered appalling animal cruelty and shocking food safety hazards within the meat, dairy, and egg industries. These investigations have led to:

See for yourself what the meat industry is fighting so desperately to hide.

What Is Ag-Gag?




: anti-whistleblower laws that criminalize filming animal abuse inside factory farms or slaughterhouses

Rather than working to improve conditions for animals or making food safer for consumers, the meat industry has responded to undercover investigations largely by lobbying for laws to prohibit them—“ag-gag” laws. These laws are designed to keep consumers in the dark about where their food comes from and how farmed animals are treated by making it a crime to document conditions at factory farms or slaughterhouses.

More than two-thirds of Americans support undercover investigations of factory farms. Yet despite this overwhelming public opposition to efforts to impede such investigations, since 2011, four states have enacted ag-gag laws. Year after year, instead of working to prevent and prosecute cruelty to animals, pro-factory farming legislators, under the influence of the powerful corporate agricultural lobby, attempt to silence individuals who seek to expose and stop it. Their shameful efforts aim to shield animal abusers from public scrutiny and punish those who dare to blow the whistle on cruel and corrupt practices within our food system.


Ag‑Gag Harms Everyone

Ag‑gag laws don’t just harm animals; they also represent an attack on our fundamental constitutional rights, including our freedom of speech. Ag-gag laws prevent public exposure of widespread animal cruelty, risky food production practices, environmental degradation, and hazardous working conditions at factory farms and slaughterhouses.

By making it impossible to document what goes on behind the closed doors of factory farms and slaughterhouses, these laws inhibit prosecution of criminal activity at agricultural facilities. Without the ability to thoroughly investigate, dangerous violations will go unchecked.

Today more than ever, undercover investigations play a crucial role in our society by helping expose criminal activity and hold factory farms accountable. With no federal laws protecting animals from cruelty on factory farms—and no state or federal agency tasked with inspecting these facilities—whistleblowers are often the only watchdogs for criminal, dangerous, or inhumane practices.

The Cruelty Ag‑Gag Seeks to Hide

Without undercover investigations, animals on factory farms will continue to suffer in silence. The abuse they endure will go undetected and unpunished. These are the faces of animals who suffer at the hands of the meat industry that ag-gag laws aim to keep hidden from view.