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Pretty big environmental and agricultural news out of Tennessee. Governor Bill Haslam, who is generally terrible on everything, has vetoed a so-called “ag-gag” bill, which would have criminalized whistleblowing and undercover investigations of conditions in agricultural operations. The agricultural industry and its political hacks in state legislatures have pushed for these laws around the country in response to videos and other reports of massive and disturbing animal cruelty taking place in our food system, both in terms of the general cruelty of the animals’ living conditions, but also terrible acts of individual cruelty against animals. Whether this leads to a broader movement against these almost certainly unconstitutional laws, I don’t know, but it is certainly a good sign. The real signal will come out of North Carolina’s insane wingnut legislature, which has a bill with much the same language, but which also expands it to investigations in any industry.

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