Wednesday, May 04, 2011 by: M.K. Tyler
(NaturalNews) The state of Iowa has passed a bill that now makes it a
criminal offense to document or expose animal abuse in factory farms or
commercial operations. The bill, passed with a 66 to 27 vote, has been called an
"assault" on first amendment rights by some animal activists - and rightfully
Here are some of the main regulations and put forth by the bill:
1. Outsiders are banned from documenting or creating any kind of "record" of sounds or images heard or seen at commercial animal farms. Record "means any printed, inscribed, visual, or audio information that is placed or stored on a tangible medium, and that may be accessed in a perceivable form, including but not limited to any paper or electronic format."
2. Disruptions of "animal maintenance" are forbidden, which essentially means that any documentation of unsanitary or inhumane conditions could be considered a disruption to farm operations and would be punishable by law.
3.Producing or distributing a record of the animal facility could result in a guilty charge of "animal facility interference."
4. One can be charged with "animal facility fraud" for obtaining employment at a farm in order to document conditions.
Gone are the days of truth-revealing documentaries or photo evidence of animal abuse in factory farms. A first offense of "animal facility interference" is classified as an aggravated misdemeanor. A second offense could result in a class "D" felony. Iowans who try to expose the inhumane and torturous conditions of animals such as chickens, cows or pigs now face the threat of a permanent record and jail time.
Political activist and writer, Marti Oakley, notes that the bill highlights an industry cover- up about the widespread abuse of animals: "Wouldn't the more prudent thing to do here have been to enforce animal cruelty laws? How about all those fake food safety regulations? Would it be too much to ask that a higher, safer standard of animal care be enforced? Rather than criminalizing those who expose the corruption and abuse? that occurs routinely in these facilities."
The bill not only serves to perpetuate animal cruelty practices, but it also is a direct threat to consumers. In essence, laws like these prevent people from knowing where their food comes from and under what conditions the animals are treated that produce this food. This could surely be a bigger threat to public knowledge, especially when consumers trust product-labeling phrases such as "free-range" or "grass-fed." If documenting animal conditions is criminalized, can we truly know how these animals are fed and treated?
Iowa residents who want to oppose the bill should contact their state senators. According to the Humane Society, it's best to make a phone call first and then follow up with an email. For the bill's full text, click here.
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