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Efforts to Ban Undercover Video Stalled

Animal welfare trumps factory farms

Two months ago, it looked like the Iowa legislature would easily pass a new measure to stop animal protection groups capturing video of abuse at factory farms. But public opinion seems to be against the whole attempt.

A bill that would make it a criminal offence to make secret videos in factory farms quickly cleared the Iowa state House, but ran into trouble in the Senate, and now seems dead, at least for this session. Similar attempts in Minnesota and Florida have also not fared well.

Factory farms have claimed that the horrific videos of animal abuse give an unfair impression of the industry and are obtained under false pretenses by undercover experts who don’t really need a job but simply want to get inside the facilities. They say the groups who produce the videos have their own agenda and are trying to convince Americans to go vegan.

“I feel it is wrong to absolutely lie to get a job to try to defame the employer,” said Rep. Annette Sweeney, a farmer and Republican legislator from the small northern Iowa town of Alden who sponsored the bill.

Animal rights activists respond that factory farms want to stop the public from seeing how their animals are treated.
Factory farmers say that animal rights groups want to put an end to farming. Humane organizations say that’s not the case.

“What we’re trying to do is expose things that might not otherwise be exposed and as a result make agriculture even better,” said Carol Rigelon of the Humane Society of the United States.

Read more at the Atlanta Journal Constitution.