photo: CALM Action/Creative Commons
Iowa's ripping a page from Florida's ill-conceived, let's cover up the ills of factory farming with unnecessary laws, book: Big Ag and Iowa lawmakers are teaming up to make it illegal to seek employment on a farm with the intent of taking photographs or video. Democracy Now! sums up the bill as succinctly as possible:
The bill would impose fines and prison sentences on anyone who seeks agricultural employment in order to capture footage. In recent years, undercover videos have revealed shocking conditions at a number of locations and have led to plant closures and meat recalls.
The penalties range from the misdemeanor level all the way up to a C felony, carrying a maximum of 10 years in jail.
Believe it or not, one of the bills sponsors, Representative Brian Quirk equates exposing horrendous farm conditions with blowing up public buildings, city buses, killing people:
These people need to be dealt with. They're terrorists and this is wrong. These producers' rights are been trampled when they're taken advantage of in this way. (SimonF)
No need to fully deconstruct the malignant creep of the use of the word terrorist that's occurred over the past decade, the cheapening of the term when used to describe the activities of anyone you don't happen to agree with, but come on...
Blowing up animal researcher's cars, wrong and a decent use of the terrorist label. Ditto if anyone was physically attacking the owners of factory farms. Going undercover to take footage of the horrendous conditions on factory farms, revealing inhumane treatment of animals that most often make even most roving carnivores sit up and take notice, and then broadcasting those photos simply is not a terrorist activity.
Not to mention, as I said a week ago when Florida proposed similar state legislation, trespass is well covered by existing law.
Read more on the bill: Eastern Iowa Government
UPDATE: Since this story was published a couple petitions have popped up opposing the bill. Here's one at Change.org: Stop Iowa Legislation from Criminalizing Undercover Videos from Farms
More on Factory Farming:
Florida Politician Wants to Make Photographing Farms a Felony
So What Does the Inside of a Factory Farm Look Like Anyway?