Should the public be kept in the dark about conditions within factory farms? (Photo credit: Flickr user faul)

Big Ag doesn’t want you to know about abuses at factory farms that violate animal rights and can endanger the health of consumers. That’s why it’s worked to pass laws all over the country that criminalize people for taking undercover video at these institutions.

Late last week, three California House Republicans — Reps. David Nunes, Kevin McCarthy, and Jeff Denham — allied to the industry sent a letter to the Department of Agriculture asking it to take action against animal welfare groups and their “onslaught” of undercover investigations at factory farms.

In a blog post about the letter, Nunes used shrill rhetoric to describe these investigations. First bringing up actual acts of terrorism — the incidence of a fringe group blowing up farm trucks — Nunes then says that his district is now facing “economic terrorism” because of the investigations by animal welfare groups.

Besides being from California, there’s one thing all three Republicans share: a reliance on Big Ag for campaign dollars. Here’s a rundown:

Denham: Crop processing and production is the congressman’s top donor this cycle, clocking in at $343,813. Meanwhile, the livestock industry is fifth, hittingA�$88,650. Dairy is sixth atA�$88,332. Agricultural services and products are ninth at $62,250.

McCarthy: Crop production and processing is his seventh-largest donor this cycle, givingA�$150,300. Meanwhile, food and beverages have given himA�$64,550, with McCarthy ranking in as the 3rd-favorite district among the food and beverage industry.

Nunes: The crop production and processing is his largest donor, givingA�$199,900 this cycle. The dairy industry is his second-largest donor, givingA�$70,800. The livestock industry has given him $21,750.

Big Ag will do anything to shield itself from watchdogs trying to uncover abuses against animals and the endangerment of the public’s health. Now its lapdogs in Congress have escalated their rhetoric to shrill heights to help factory farms continue theirA�cover-ups.