Stop California's "Lab Gag" bill

Amy Meyer, March 27, 2019

A new California bill threatens to hide cruel animal experiments from the public.

We have a right to know what is happening to animals behind closed doors at public institutions.

A quickly moving bill in the California state legislature is threatening to hide animal research behind a veil of secrecy. In order for the public to understand what happens to animals behind closed doors with our taxpayer dollars and hold these industries accountable when they violate federal laws, we rely on public records like descriptions of protocols, grant applications, photos and more. AB-700 would change California transparency laws to hide this information from the public, keeping public institutions that test on animals in the dark and threatening our basic democratic values of freedom of information and freedom of the press.

Legislation to hide information from the public about animal abuse… sound familiar?

It should. Laws referred to as “Ag Gag” have cropped up in states around the country, aimed at criminalizing undercover investigations and whistleblowers at animal farms and slaughterhouses. I was the first person in the country to be charged under one of these Ag Gag laws, for doing nothing more than filming an injured cow outside a slaughterhouse. Fortunately my case was dropped and provided fuel for a lawsuit challenging the law as unconstitutional. Just like the court in my case ruled that investigations are critical for information gathering and consistent with the values of a democratic society, the already-limited information we are able to gather about laboratories from public records is vital to spark an informed discussion on taxpayer-funded experiments on animals.

This lab-gag bill is moving rapidly and goes to committee on April 2nd.

People have a right to know what happens to animals inside laboratories, and the only way to have meaningful conversations around the issue of animal experimentation is to first have a thorough understanding of what is happening to animals in labs with taxpayer dollars. Assembly member Friedman ought to be increasing transparency in labs, not further hiding the sad reality happening behind the cage doors.

While it’s too late to have your voice heard on this issue you can still help animals suffering in labs by visiting our advocacy page.