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Shame on Iowa: Governor Signs Ag-Gag Bill to Protect Animal Abusers
March 3, 2012
Iowa has enacted the nation's first ag-gag law -- which seeks to outlaw undercover investigations exposing animal cruelty on factory
Despite the valiant efforts of MFA supporters nationwide, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad has bowed to pressure from "Big Ag" and failed Iowans, Iowa's farmed animals, and the American people, by signing into law a bill that makes criminals out of undercover investigators who expose cruelty to animals, corporate corruption, dangerous working conditions, environmental violations, or food safety concerns at factory farms.
Click here for a statement from Nathan Runkle, Mercy For Animals' executive director.
Not a single federal law protects farmed animals from abuse or neglect during their lives on factory farms and Iowa specifically excludes farmed animals from protection against even some of the worst forms of factory farm cruelty. But instead of strengthening its pathetic laws to protect animals and consumers, Iowa lawmakers are attempting to silence undercover investigators who expose cruel and even criminal activities at factory farms.
Undercover investigations by Mercy For Animals and other groups have led to landmark corporate animal welfare policy reforms, new and improved laws to protect farmed animals and the environment, felony convictions of animal abusers, increased consumer protection and food safety initiatives, and the closure of particularly corrupt facilities. Without undercover investigations, there are oftentimes no effective watchdogs protecting animals from egregious cruelty in these facilities.
It is now more important than ever before to expose the cruel and corrupt practices of factory farms nationwide.
What You Can Do:
Expose Factory Farm Cruelty - Please share this video with as many people as you can and help expose the cruel and corrupt practices of Iowa's factory farming industry.
Stop the Ag-Gag - Harmful and unconstitutional whistleblower-suppression legislation is now being considered in the following states. If you live in one of these states, please take action below:
- Illinois: HB 5143 - Take Action
- New York: S 5172 - Take Action
- Utah: HB 187 - Take Action
- Indiana: SB 184 (bill pending)
- Minnesota: HF 1369/ SF 1118 (bill pending)
- Missouri: SB 695 (bill pending)
- Nebraska: LB 915 (bill pending)
Filming on farms banned by proposed Utah law
February 27, 2012
SALT LAKE CITY — Filming on farms, ranches and dairies could be prohibited in Utah by a bill moving to the Senate this week, despite concerns that animal abuse will go unreported.
The prohibition is needed because "national propaganda groups" are hiding cameras on agricultural property and using the footage as part of their larger agenda of shutting down the operations, said Rep. John Mathis, R-Vernal, the sponsor of House Bill 187. The bill, which passed the House 60-14 Friday, would make it a misdemeanor to film on private agricultural property without the owner's consent.
Allowing the groups to continue to film on private property is "akin to a neighborhood watch group that goes into your home and hides cameras because you may one day do something to your kids," Mathis said.
Multiple animal rights groups have launched national campaigns against the bill, which they said will penalize people who uncover animal abuse. Among those groups is People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which has sent a letter from actress Cloris Leachman to lawmakers.
"Citizens' right to document cruelty to animals_wherever it occurs_is crucial in helping local, state, and federal officials enforce anti-cruelty laws," Leachman wrote in her letter.
The bill will protect businesses to the detriment of animals, said Suzanne McMillan, director of farm animal welfare for The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
"Bills like this only serve to heighten suspicion that the agricultural industry has something to hide," McMillan said. "Americans deserve to know how their food is produced, and responsible farmers should welcome that transparency."
The proposed law is also overly broad and could limit the ability of whistleblowers to document illegal actions, said Rep. Brian King, D-Salt Lake City.
Last year, similar bills failed in Iowa, Florida, New York and Minnesota.
The involvement of national groups will likely hold little sway over Utah lawmakers, however. Rep. Mike Noel, R-Kanab, who is a cattle rancher, said opponents of the bill want to control agriculture but have no understanding of how hard farmers and ranchers actually work.
"Nobody wants to go slop around in cow manure in the middle of the night or at six in the morning, and they certainly don't want some jackwagon coming in and taking a picture of them," Noel said.