Sarah Hubbart, Communications Director at Animal Agriculture Alliance, blogging for Meatingplace.com, wrote, “Iowa’s governor signed a hotly-debated bill into law that makes it a crime for individuals or organizations to fraudulently gain access to a farm with the intent to cause harm.
The law doesn’t specifically ban the “undercover videos” that animal rights groups use to promote their cause, but it could cause the activists who obtain employment on farms under false pretenses to think twice.
The new law specifies that “A person is guilty of agricultural production facility fraud if the person willfully does any of the following: a. Obtains access to an agricultural production facility by false pretenses. b. Makes a false statement or representation as part of an application or agreement to be employed at an agricultural production facility, if the person knows the statement to be false, and makes the statement with an intent to commit an act not authorized by the owner of the agricultural production facility, knowing that the act is not authorized.”
The sponsor of the bill, Representative Annette Sweeney, said, ”This bill will ensure everyone who works on farms is honest about animal care and has their best interest in mind."
Governor Terry Brandstad agreed and signed it soon after it landed on his desk
As a journalist, I feel strongly both ways about that bill. I like the intent, even though I’m sure Iowa already has laws against willful misrepresentation on employment applications and fraud. Gaining access to an ag facility of any kind with the intent to do or promote harm ought to be a punishable offense with serious consequences. Rumors are rampant that some of the animal abuse videos that have surfaced in the past few years were either staged elsewhere, the result of the videographer encouraging employees to abuse the animals under their care, or the result of some very sophisticated and selective editing.
No matter how “animal rights” activists gain access to an ag facility, their efforts to encourage such behavior or wait to expose it for maximum publicity for the advancement of their social directives are worse than the habitual abuser in my estimation. To promote a lie to further your aims is an intellectual and moral dishonesty of the worst kind. Those activists who claim to know better and try to seize the moral high ground by wading through the swamp are despicable.
At the same time, there are constitutional guarantees of a free and unfettered press and the Supreme Court has consistently defended that right, even as exercised by the vile people and organizations.