Shut up and eat your vegetables: The Danger of Ag Gag Laws
Vegetables such as turnips, parsnips, and celery have rights. No, this is not some sick joke. Rather, veggie hate crimes came about as a result of powerful lobbying on behalf of the food industry. These laws subject individuals to liability for publicly making disparaging comments about certain agricultural food products.
For example, Florida Statutes, section 865.065 is entitled “Disparagement of perishable agricultural food products….” In it, the Florida legislature has made it a crime for an individual to make a willful, malicious, and false public comment regarding perishable food. The text of the statute can be found here.
Currently, thirteen states have enacted these laws and surely, these states are those that have the hands of the food industry in the pockets of local legislatures. Merely questioning, or providing false light to an agricultural food product may subject one to liability and this is certainly in derogation of the rights afforded to us as citizens though the first amendment.
So, the next time your peas taste a little funny, watch what you say.
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