We humans

What’s really going on in factory farms? A useful reading list

Jun 11, 2014 /

So-called “ag-gag laws” seek to make it illegal to photograph animal cruelty on factory farms — and have already been passed in states such as Utah, Iowa, Missouri, and Idaho, with more to come. Yet too few of us seem to know about what’s going on in these farms — or why such wrong-headed laws are being passed. After all, carnivore or not, don’t we all care that our food comes from safe, hygienic environments? As Mark Bittman wrote in 2011, “poll after poll finds that almost everyone believes that even if it costs more, farm animals should be treated humanely” — and yet the law seems to be moving in the opposite direction.

Investigative journalist Will Potter wants to change that — or at least draw attention to twisted laws that, as he puts it, might lead to more jail time for exposing cruelty than for committing it. Here, he shares a list of useful resources for anyone looking to find out more about what’s going on in this world, including a few self-penned pieces, a look at how certain FBI agents are so desperate to thwart a terrorist plot they’ll even go about creating one — and one more uplifting read for anyone whose soul feels crushed at the insane nightmare of it all.

After Activists Covertly Expose Animal Cruelty, Should They Be Targeted with “Ag-Gag” Laws?
Democracy Now, April 9, 2013
“I debated an agriculture industry spokesperson about ag-gag laws. Host Amy Goodman does a wonderful job, as usual, of moving the conversation forward and thoroughly covering the topic.”

“Meet the Punk Rocker Who Can Liberate Your FBI File”
Will Potter
Mother Jones, November 13, 2013
“Lawfully investigating how and why the FBI is focusing its resources on ‘eco-terrorists’ is, in itself, being treated as a national security threat.”

“When an Activist Falls in the Rain Forest Does It Make A Sound?” [Register to view]
Will Potter
Foreign Policy, April 23, 2014
“Violence against environmentalists has escalated to an all-time high globally.”

If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front
Oscilloscope Laboratories, 2011
“Marshall Curry’s Oscar-nominated documentary follows Daniel McGowan, a former Earth Liberation Front member, as he prepares for prison as a “terrorist.” (See if you can spot me in the forest with Daniel and the camera crew.)”

The Terror Factory
Trevor Aaronson
Ig Publishing, 2013
“This is the kind of journalism that should prompt Congressional hearings. It is a damning exposé of how the government’s front line against terrorism has become a network of snitches at the end of their ropes, and FBI agents desperate to thwart a terrorist plot even if it means creating one.”

The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Fighting the Big Motherfuckin’ Sad
Adam Gnade
Pioneers Press, 2013
“I write about pretty depressing stuff, to put it mildly, and on some days that darkness feels overwhelming. This slim volume by Adam Gnade hit home for me and countless others because it’s written with a raw mix of compassion, tough love and an outlaw spirit. It’s a must for anyone trying to fight the good fight.”