A Sad Day: Iowa Approves the Ag Gag Bill

Edit: I am even sadder now. Iowa Governor Terry Branstad has bowed to special interest groups and failed both the animals and compassionate humans everywhere by signing the Ag Gag Bill. If this moves you to take action, check out Mercy for Animal’s post on the topic.

In what is truly a sad day for animal rights activists everywhere, as well as for anyone who thinks that inhumane treatment of farm animals is wrong, the Iowa legislature has approved a bill that will make it illegal to surreptitiously get into a farm operation and record video of animal abuse (the Ag Gag Bill). It sits on the Governor’s desk awaiting his signature.

Backed, obviously, by farming interests and their dollars, the bill was overwhelmingly approved by legislators. Hiding behind talk of protecting the animals from tracked in disease or vermin, Iowa, which already had some of the weakest animal protection laws in the nation, will now make it illegal to lie on an employment application in order to secure a job with the purpose of filming undercover. A first offense can be punished with a fine of up to $1,500 and a year in jail.

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad has strong ties to agricultural interests, so you can pretty much assume that he will be signing this bill into law, in spite of some serious objection and outrage from animal rights groups. The issue is even more important because Iowa is the nation’s leading producer of pork and eggs, and this law could set an example for other states which are considering their own Ag Gag laws.

Mercy for Animals, an animal rights group which has filmed videos of inhumane treatment of animals at farms in Iowa (and elsewhere), held a demonstration at the Iowa Capitol on Thursday.  If you are moved to protest, particularly if you are an Iowa resident, you can contact Governor Branstad directly and tell him what you think of the Ag Gag bill. Hurry, though, or it may be too late.

Amazingly, Senator Joe Seng, the man who sponsored the bill, is a veterinarian. He has espoused some nonsense about how fair the bill is because it doesn’t stop current employees from reporting abuse. If you’ve ever seen any video of the abuse of farm animals, and watched the employees at work, you know how unlikely that is.

Just in case you have any doubt about how inhumane factory farms are, just search You Tube for “Factory Farm Animals,” and watch a few videos. Or watch the short video below, which was created by Mercy for Animals, to see what factory farmers are trying so hard to hide.

This is not a vegan or vegetarian issue. It is not even solely an animal rights issue. It is a human issue. We, as human beings, cannot endorse this type of treatment of animals. We must fight it at every opportunity, or not only do the animals lose, we lose as well.

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