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Guide to Writing About Me

I am an Autistic person,not a person with autism. I am also not Aspergers. The diagnosis isn't even in the DSM anymore, and yes, I agree with the consolidation of all autistic spectrum stuff under one umbrella. I have other issues with the DSM.

I don't like Autism Speaks. I'm Disabled, not differently abled, and I am an Autistic activist. Self-advocate is true, but incomplete.

Citing My Posts

MLA: Hillary, Alyssa. "Post Title." Yes, That Too. Day Month Year of post. Web. Day Month Year of retrieval.

APA: Hillary, A. (Year Month Day of post.) Post Title. [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://yesthattoo.blogspot.com/post-specific-URL.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Ad-Gag Laws: The Flash Blog

Trigger Warning: References to animal abuse, mention of JRC in first paragraph

It's a flash blog! It's a flash blog! It's also not my usual fare, but it's got some parallels. Remember how hard it is to legally get any footage of what goes on inside the Judge Rotenberg Center? Well, ad-gag laws make it that hard or harder to get footage, take pictures, take recordings, get any evidence of wrongdoing for certain kinds of corporations. Which kinds depends on the specific law, of course, but agricultural stuff and industrial stuff tend to be common, and agricultural is what this flash blog probably focused on considering that it's put together by an institute for critical animal studies.
Basically, they can make it so that if you take pictures to prove that there is abuse or maltreatment of workers or animals, or if you take pictures to document violations of any kind, workplace safety or anything, you get in trouble. Not the people who actually had the violation, the person who blew the whistle on it.
There's supposed to be protections for whistleblowers, not laws that criminalize gathering the evidence it takes to get anywhere blowing that whistle.
But that's what ad-gag laws can do, are doing. Someone actually got charged for taking video from a public sidewalk under one of these laws. The charges got dropped, but think about that. Person with a camera on public property, taking pictures of something you can see from public property? Illegal under an ad-gag law that already exists. Think about the police officers who already try to stop people recording them on public property, even when there are laws that specifically state that doing so is allowed. Think about companies that bully people into deleting their footage, even when there are laws that specifically state that taking that footage is legal. Think about how many people get fired for bringing major issues to public attention, even when there are laws that are specifically supposed to protect them.
Whenever surveillance is being outlawed or protected, we have to think about the power differentials and who is getting protected by this law.
So:
Who are the stakeholders in an ad-gag law preventing people from recording anything from a slaughterhouse or farm (or combined facility?)
  • Butchers and slaugherhouse workers
  • Potential consumers who want to know the preparation of their food
  • Farmers who raise the animals
  • The animals themselves
  • Owners/Owning corporation of the facility
The one with the power here is the owners. Animals can't talk and are owned, so they clearly don't have the power here. Workers are pretty consistently subordinate to their bosses, especially when there are more people wanting jobs than there are jobs, like now. Unions can sometimes level the playing field, but not always, so they aren't the ones with the power either. Consumers can choose not to buy specific brands if they have the money, but they do need to eat something and the companies with the lowest standards (and the most violations of even those standards!) tend to be the cheapest, so there is a definite economic factor. So it's not them either. Farmers... they could try to go independent, but that tends to come with an economic cost. Small-scale farmers can sometimes manage it by going organic and selling directly to consumers, but not always. Nope, unless it's a corporate farmer, they aren't the power holders. (Oh, and the corporate farmers are often also owners of the slaughterhouses, and they often have violations in both places.)The people owning the facility are doing a bit more than middlemen, but they are the ones who make bigger money and they are the ones with lawyers and who can afford lobbyists. They are the ones with more institutional power here.
Now who does an ad-gag law protect, and who can it hurt?
Safety violations get a lot harder to report and prove, so the workers are hurt.
Potential consumers don't find out about any violations of safety, ethics, or purity. So they are at risk of hurt.
Farmers need split into small independent farmers and big corporate ones. Small ones who don't have enough pull to call someone in to enforce this rule against people recording them aren't getting the benefits. They also probably don't have their own slaughterhouses, so they are a consumer in terms of needing to purchase the services of a slaughterhouse, which they can't get as much information about. So they don't realistically get the benefits of this law, though they legally do, and they have the potential for getting hurt in that they won't know if the slaughterhouse does something bad.
The big corporate farms are direct beneficiaries here. They can stop people from recording any violations they might have.
Big slaughterhouses are also direct beneficiaries, for the same reason.
Animals are at risk of being abused without anyone ever being able to prove that this happened, which isn't OK. They're at risk of harm beyond that of just "going to get eaten" and are not getting helped here.
People with more institutional power and people getting protected look to be the same group. That's generally not a good sign, and right here, right now, it's definitely bad. Because it the abuses that are made illegal to prove are happening, and ad-gag laws make them impossible to stop.

2 comments:

  1. Animal abuse is increasing day by day. We can't even stop because the law made are like that we can not click pics and shoot videos which very hard to get evidence for animal abuse. Animal abuse a very big problem world wide. To get justice for animal abuse we have to do Jury Profiling Research and even government has to take some serious actions so it can be stopped.

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  2. Agreed with the author, animal abuse is increasing through out the world and there such law which stop people to collect such evidence. There should be such laws that stop animal abuse and it should be implemented strictly. There are some lawyers who fight for voiceless animals also.

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