The state of California is fine with undercover sting videos when investigators use them to expose cruelties done to animals. But if an undercover reporter does the same thing to expose the fetal organ trade, the Golden State will throw the book at them.
On Tuesday, California Attorney General charged two undercover journalists with 15 criminal charges for recording conversations with abortionists that occurred in public places, like restaurants and event spaces, claiming the recordings violate privacy laws and are not covered under whistleblower statutes.
Ironically, animal rights groups that routinely use similar tactics to expose cruelty to animals in California do so without any legal repercussions.
Mercy for Animals is a Los Angeles-based nonprofit that fights animal cruelty by recruiting investigators who go to work undercover in farms and slaughterhouses to secretly record.
Many of their videos have spurred investigations and criminal charges against the farms and slaughterhouses they’ve stealthily recorded.
Matt Rice, Executive Vice President of Communications at Mercy for Animals, told The Federalist their organization has never faced criminal charges in California or any other state for their undercover tactics.
Warning: These videos contain graphic content.
In this video, which was secretly recorded at a Foster Farms slaughterhouse and nearby farms in Fresno, California, chickens are punched and their feathers are ripped out while they’re still alive. Their work resulted in a criminal investigation into the poultry company.
This undercover video of a duck farm in Petaluma, California spurred local law enforcement to investigate the way they treated fowl.
Another nonprofit group, Compassion Over Killing, has used undercover surveillance to uncover animal mistreatment in California.
The organization has never faced criminal charges for their undercover work in California, Jennifer Mishler, Communications Manager at COK told The Federalist.
In 2009, a COK posing as an employee at a hatchery in Santa Cruz, California, secretly filmed some of the ways chicks and ducklings were being abused.
“The heartbreaking video shows severely injured baby birds who were mangled on machinery casually tossed aside into waste buckets and left to suffer for hours,” a press release describing the video footage reads. “Eventually, these injured birds along with healthy but unwanted ‘surplus’ chicks were dumped like trash into an often-clogged eggshell disposal chute, where they met a violent death.”
Armed with this video footage, the organization was able to pursue a lawsuit against the hatchery, which put it out of business in 2012.
Rice told The Federalist they’re very careful to adhere to federal and state laws and require their investigators to undergo “comprehensive boot camps” before allowing them to gain employment at a slaughterhouse.
They tell their investigators that when filming inside a factory farm, they need to only do so in areas where there’s no expectation of privacy, which means bathrooms and locker rooms are off-limits, Rice explained.
So why is it okay for investigators to pose as farmers and secretly film abuses to animals, but it’s not okay for investigators to pose as fetal tissue buyers to expose Planned Parenthood’s organ harvesting scheme? California’s double standard makes it clear the criminal charges being lodged against the pro-life investigators isn’t about privacy at all, it’s about protecting the abortion industry.