No one enjoys graphic materials that expose the cruel treatment of factory farm animals. Seeing little piglets crammed into dark, filthy cages on top of their dead, rotting brethren is disturbing, horrible, and makes us sick with guilt. But does that make the animal rights activists who put together these materials “terrorists”? Yes, if several so-called “Ag-Gag” bills, currently under consideration by over a dozen state legislatures, are passed.

The “Animal and Ecological Terrorism Act,” for instance, would ban any photo or video documentation that would “defame” livestock farming facilities. Any violators would land a spot on a “terrorist registry.”

Other proposed bills would make it illegal for activist groups to go undercover in attempt to expose the abuse of animals in farming and agricultural settings. They would prevent anyone from applying for a job at a livestock farm without fully disclosing connections to animal rights groups, and would require that any expository videos filmed in such settings be given to authorities immediately, disabling full-on investigations.

The Times reports that “some of the legislation appears inspired by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a business advocacy group with hundreds of state representatives from farm states as members.” Those are the same bleeding hearts behind the “stand your ground” gun laws, incidentally.

Similar anti-animal activism laws have already been passed in Iowa, Utah and Missouri — we can only hope that others don’t follow their lead.