THE LARGEST COLLECTION OF LEGAL JOBS ON EARTH
Iowa Makes it a Crime to Reveal the Truth by Teresa Cajot
As a Republican with strong ties to the state’s agricultural industry, Branstad readily signed House File 589, also known as the “ag gag”. It’s fair to note that Iowa is the nation’s leading pork and egg producer and Branstad obviously aims to promote that industry and encourage profits for his state. However, one would also expect him to demonstrate a level of concern for farm employees, animal welfare, and the environment, which are also heavily impacted by the new law.
But even beyond that, he owes the public an
and priorities that Iowans hold,” said Suzanne McMillan,
explanation for his decision, as it is a matter that
spokeswoman for the American Society for Prevention
impacts the nation as a whole. Branstad instead took
of Cruelty to Animals.
the easy way out and signed the controversial measure in a private ceremony, without ever supplying the
Similar legislation has been introduced in other states,
public with a statement concerning his decision.
including Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York, and Utah, but Iowa is the first state to actually
Those who passionately fought against the law deserve
sign it into law. According to Iowa’s law, anybody
more, particularly because the law has a history of
found guilty of misrepresenting themselves on a job
controversy behind it. When it was first introduced
application at a farm facility can face up to one year in
last year, the bill criminalized the production or
prison and fines up to $1,500 for the first offense.
distribution of photographs, videos, or written materials revealing animal abuse. Seen as an infringement on
Animal rights groups claim that the bill discourages
First Amendment rights, the legislation was amended
legitimate employees as well as others from revealing
and reintroduced. However, many claim that the new
humane violations, unsafe working conditions, and
version, which was rushed through both chambers
environmental problems. Senator Joe Seng, the bill’s
and then sent to Branstad’s desk, still violates US
sponsor, however, insists that the measure serves to
Constitutional rights. Furthermore, animal rights groups
provide a balance. Seng, a Davenport Democrat and
assert that the bill fails to safeguard the food supply,
veterinarian, is hopeful that the bill will be “a template
allowing for inhumane treatment and contamination in
for the whole United States.”
the slaughter process. However, Seng’s hopes for the entire nation are likely “Iowans deserve to know where their food is coming
to be dashed by the states that demand transparency
from, they deserve to know how the animals they’re
in animal agribusiness. After all, if the agriculture
consuming have been treated, they deserve to have
industry truly has nothing to hide, then undercover
the farms held accountable for the conditions in these
investigations should be a non-issue for farmers.
facilities. He’s really going against all those concerns
Published on Sep 20, 2012
Iowa’s Governor Terry Branstad knows which side his bread is buttered on, so it should come as little surprise that he ignored animal rights...