An Iowa bill seeking to deter animal rights activists from producing and distributing undercover videos has passed the Iowa House and Senate. It now will head to Governor Terry Branstad’s desk.
The bill in question would make it a crime to falsely obtain employment in a farm, ranch, or other agricultural production facility for the purposes of making an undercover video. The bill is a watered down version of a previous bill, which would have made it a felony to videotape a farm or ranch without the permission of the owner. That bill failed to pass the House or Senate.
Opponents of the law, while disappointed, note that they managed to water down the legislation in the face of significant financial opposition from major Iowa corporations and agribusinesses.
Republican supporters of the bill, however, hailed its passage as a sign that Iowa voters are serious about protecting agricultural interests. According to House sponsor Annette Sweeney, “This is a very, very positive step for agriculture. For right now, I think it’s a start to realize that we are serious about protecting the agriculture that we have in our state.”
Governor Branstad has already promised to sign the bill, which would make Iowa one of the first states in the nation to criminalize undercover animal rights videos. Roughly 13 other states are considering similar legislation.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer