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Legislature approves bill targeting animal abuse videos

This news story was published on February 29, 2012.
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Rod Boshart, CR Gazette –

DES MOINES — Agricultural interests on Tuesday said the Iowa Senate had given them a legal hook to help combat animal rights activists who aim to damage elements of Iowa’s food production industry.

However, opponents of the revised House File 589, which passed the Senate 40-10, said they had succeeded in forcing proponents to settle for a “watered-down” version of the bill.

The original legislation would have made it a crime to record video or audio footage of agriculture operations without permission from the farmer or business owner. The new version doesn’t restrict the creation or distribution of such recordings; it only addresses fraudulent statements in obtaining access to the facilities in the first place.

“I would say their victory is hollow,” said Sen. Matt McCoy, D-Des Moines, who had tried to defeat the measure.

But Rep. Annette Sweeney, R-Alden, the House Agriculture Committee chairwoman who led the charge last year to get the tougher measure approved by the GOP-run House, said she was “very thrilled” by the Senate vote. Representatives wasted no time in approving the Senate changes on an 68-26 House vote several hours later and sent the bill to Gov. Terry Branstad for his expected signature.

“This is a very, very positive step for agriculture,” she said. “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.”

Sweeney said 10 other states are looking at similar laws to deal with the issue, which pits environmental and animal rights activists against farmers and agribusiness interests.

The compromise version of HF 589 offered by Sens. Joe Seng, D-Davenport, and Sen. Tim Kapucian, R-Keystone, would establish that a person who obtains access to the facility by false pretenses, or lies on an employment application with the intent to commit an act not authorized by the owner, is guilty of “agricultural production facility fraud.” Penalties could include fines and prison time.

Seng said the bill was designed to provide protections for livestock producers who make large financial investments and who are concerned about exposure to disease and other problems associated with unauthorized people accessing their private property under false pretenses.

However, McCoy said the law would have a chilling effect on whistle-blowers trying to expose conditions of animal abuse or food safety concerns, as well as potentially placing union organizers or media in positions of being charged for criminal activity under the bill’s vague wording.

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4 Responses to Legislature approves bill targeting animal abuse videos

  1. Iowa Looks Bad Reply Report comment

    March 3, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    This one makes the state look bad…fortunately we have federal whistleblower laws that should intervene here, as well as the first amendment. However, makes Gov. Brandstad and the Republican controlled legislature look like they’re giving special protection to farmers and, more specifically, packing plants. Protections like that are undeserved if they serve to protect someone while they’re committing crimes, and just go to show how in bed the Grand Old Party is with business…welfare of animals (or the poor) be damned!

    Fortunately, I’ll kick some bucks to PETA or whomever wants them so they can petition the Supreme Court to rule this unconstitutional.

    • dog owner Reply Report comment

      March 4, 2012 at 3:50 pm

      Giving money to PeTA or HSUS would be a BIG mistake, don’t make that mistake!
      People need to do some research on these groups, HSUS doesn’t operate one single animal shelter anywhere, and the radials at PeTa are legendary.
      Issue is peta operatives have infiltrated HSUS and have gradually tunred that group into a radicalized one, with more to come.

      PETA collected almost $29 million in donations in 2004 alone, but few donors understand exactly where their money is going. During the past ten years, PETA has spent four times as much on criminals and their legal defense than it has on shelters, spay-neuter programs, and other efforts that actually help animals.

      PETA is not an animal welfare organization.
      PETA spends less than one percent of its multi-million dollar budget actually helping animals. The group euthanized (killed) more than 1,900 animals in 2003 alone — that’s over 85 percent of the animals it received. In fact, from July 1998 through the end of 2003, PETA killed over 10,000 dogs, cats, and other “companion animals” at its Norfolk, Virginia headquarters.

      On its 2002 federal income-tax return, PETA claimed a $9,370 expense for a giant walk-in freezer, the kind most people use as a meat locker or for ice-cream storage. But animal-rights activists don’t eat meat or dairy foods. So far, the group hasn’t confirmed the obvious — that it’s using the appliance to store the bodies of its victims.

      A page image is available at the web site connected to my name above, from the 1995 annual tax return (form 990) of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), showing a $45,200 payment for the “support committee” of Rodney Coronado, a felon. Mr. Coronado was convicted of arson in federal court for the 1992 firebombing of a Michigan State University research lab.

      THAT is where you money would be going, to bailing out convicted felons who firebomb public
      university facilities.

      Another image there shows a page from the 2000 annual tax return (form 990) of PETA , showing a $1,500 payment to support the program activities of the North American Earth Liberation Front.

      ELF has been called “the largest and most active U.S.-based terrorist group” by the FBI, and along with its sister group the Animal Liberation Front commits arson, sets off time bombs and incendiary devices, destroys research facilities, runs online eco-terror “training camps,” and much more.

      In the past, PETA has handled the press for the Animal Liberation Front (ALF), a violent, underground group of fanatics who plant firebombs in restaurants, destroy butcher shops, and torch research labs. The FBI considers ALF among America’s most active and prolific terrorist groups

    • dog owner Reply Report comment

      March 4, 2012 at 3:56 pm

      THE most effective way to stop the abuse in these places is simple- boycott meat, meat/dairy related products and wool products.

      If a large percentage of people did the right thing and cut meat out of their diets at least, it would be healthier first, then it would bankrupt these animal versions of the nazi’s Sobibor death camps within a couple of months and put them out of business.
      That would save river, streams, the environment, drinking water which is always in short supply, and feed- corn, grains etc wasted on fattening livestock at a huge caloric loss would be used to feed people. Every pound of beef wastes about 9 pounds of grains and a lot of water.
      Live healthier, and with less cruelty in your life.

  2. dog owner Reply Report comment

    March 1, 2012 at 6:54 pm

    What they are REALLY scared of is being exposed for the animal abusers they are, Ive SEEN the videos on youtube showing what goes on, including employees having “bad days” beating animals with metal pipes obviously very angry, screaming, and all because an animal isn’t moving FAST enough for them, or just because the animal is there.

    Join me and help put this subversive sick industry OUT of business- boycott meat, meat products and wool, I predict within 2 months if there was a concerted national effort- these animal abusing clowns would go bankrupt and out of business.

    I boycotted meat years ago, they can HAVE their ecoli and filth contaminated, cholesterol ridden death patties.