This week, after a year's worth of controversy surrounding an Iowa bill that would make undercover footage and photography at factory farms illegal, the bill passed the Iowa legislature. It's one more hurdle for animal rights activists looking to expose farms that break the rules.
The Iowa bill makes gaining access to livestock operations under false pretenses a crime. Montana, North Dakota, and Kansas have already enacted similar laws and Illinois, Missouri, Utah, New York, Nebraska, Indiana, and Minnesota are considering such bills.
"We have a number of activists that want to gain access to farms ... to take some films and make it look as dramatic as they possibly can, to affect the public," Craig Hill, president of the Iowa Farm Bureau, told the agriculture news site Brownfield. But animal welfare groups say that animal producers who want such laws enacted have something to hide, namely criminal animal cruelty.
Videos Uncover Disgusting PracticesIt’s no secret that a number of massive animal cruelty rings have been uncovered as a result of such videos including when Mercy for Animals, an animal welfare group, released a video documenting disgusting conditions at Iowa Select Farms, one of the largest pork producers in the U.S.
The Humane Society of the United States also released this cruel video investigating Seaboard Foods and Prestige Farm, a main supplier to Walmart and then there was when a Butterball facility was raided in response to undercover footage.
It’s unclear whether these criminal acts would have surfaced without such footage and it’s a sad day when farmers that engage in criminal animal mistreatment can hide behind the banner of a law which bans their investigation.
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