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Blog for Last Chance for Animals, an international non-profit dedicated to ending animal cruelty and exploitation.
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A Triumph for LCA as Arkansas Gag Bill Fails

A Triumph for LCA as Arkansas Gag Bill Fails

Arkansas’ animals have a lot to rejoice over this week. Following a campaign by Last Chance for Animals, a workplace gag bill has failed miserably in committee long before being voted into Arkansas law. This means that our dedicated whistleblowers can continue to detect, record and thwart animal abuse without fear that crucial evidence will be tossed out of court – or that they will be jailed for recording it in the first place. 

On Tuesday, March 24th, Rep. Mark Lowery’s controversial bill ­– which required consent among employers, their representatives and employees for audio recordings in the workplace – failed in the Judiciary House Committee. Had HB 1774 passed, workers facing harassment or discrimination would have been unable to tape those crimes against them.

The bill would have also greatly affected animal rights groups like Last Chance for Animals, which send investigators to work in animal industries to gather evidence of cruelty.

LCA legal representative Zeynep Graves points out that, “Prohibiting employees from recording their conversations enables injustice to go undetected. Individuals are most vulnerable in the employment setting when they have information of, or are a victim of, unlawful activity.”

Only after LCA contacted Arkansas local ABC news and other regional press did Representative Lowery make concessions and amend the bill, greatly narrowing its scope. As the news story flourished and dissension grew, the bill was killed on the spot this past Tuesday.

Watch the video to see how it happened:

This action is a significant regional win, of course, in the ongoing fight against anti-whistleblower laws that eliminate our rights in the quest for animal abuse justice. It will also help set crucial precedence in other states that dare to introduce such animal and human rights-violating bills.

It’s important to note that Arkansas is a major farming state that supplies livestock to some of the largest meat manufacturers and retailers in the country, such as Tyson Foods and Walmart. In fact, both of these large companies have notably violated employment laws in the last decade, but have settled out of court with the Federal Labor Department. HB 1774 served the interest of these corporations, not the citizens of Arkansas, which is why its failure comes as a relief for the public.

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