motherjones.com Timeline: Big Ag's Campaign to Shut Up Its Critics Mar. 1990 Kansas adopts the country's first ag gag...
ABC PrimeTime Live reporters document Food Lion employees grinding expired beef with fresh beef and applying barbecue sauce to expired chicken to mask the smell. Food Lion sues ABC for fraud and trespass and is awarded $5.5 million. An appellate court reduces it to $2, saying the lawsuit tried to "end run" the First Amendment.
The Texas Beef Group sues Oprah Winfrey for $11 million for an interview with a Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) representative who declared that mad cow disease was a potential epidemic worse than AIDS, to which Winfrey remarked, "It has just stopped me cold from eating another burger." Beef prices drop 7 cents per pound. The jury ultimately rules in favor of Oprah.
Texas emu ranchers sue Honda for an ad in which a young job searcher is told, "Emus, Joe. It's the pork of the future." Ranchers claimed the line would make emu meat less appealing to Muslims and Jews. The case is dismissed.
The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) introduces model legislation that would create a "registry of animal and ecological terrorists" and prohibit recording in an animal or research facility "with the intent to commit criminal activities or defame the facility or its owner."
PETA's multi-month investigation of Iowa's MowMar Farmsdocuments workers abusing pigs with metal rods and electric prods, and results in six convictions.
A Washington state senator introduces a law that labels anyone who protests animal and natural-resource facilities a terrorist. The bill, which borrows heavily from ALEC's model legislation, dies in committee.
The HSUS films workers at Willmar Poultry Co. throwing sick, injured, and surplus birds into grinders alive.
Ag gag laws are introduced in five states and pass in two.
Beef Products Inc. files a $1.2 billion lawsuit against ABC News for its"pink slime" investigation.
Amy Meyer becomes the first to be charged under an ag gag law. Standing outside the barbed-wire fence enclosing the Smith Meatpacking slaughterhouse, Meyer videotapes "flesh being spewed from a chute on the side of the building" and a downer cow being carried by a tractor. The co-owner of the slaughterhouse is also the town's mayor. Charges are dropped after blogger Will Potter publicizes the case.
Ag gag laws have been introduced in 12 more states. Seven emphasize quick reporting, while Arkansas' makes it illegal for anyone except law enforcement to investigate improper conduct.
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