“In the midst of uprisings against police brutality across the U.S., Iowa legislators quietly passed a bill on Friday to increase penalties for animal rights activism that has targeted the factory farming industry. Debates in both the state House and Senate were followed rapidly by votes in favor of the legislation. The bill now awaits the governor’s signature.
“The intent is to silence whistleblowers and those that would expose animal welfare abuses,” said Adam Mason, the state policy director for Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, which has fought two previous ag-gag laws in Iowa courts.
The latest bill would create a new crime, “food operation trespass,” for anyone who enters a location without permission where a “food animal” is kept or where meat is sold or processed. Animal rights activists have repeatedly published damning footage of Iowa farms that reveals sick or wounded animals and overcrowded conditions. In some cases, such footage has been captured via undercover investigations in which an activist obtains a job at a factory farm; in others, activists have entered properties surreptitiously to film poor conditions.”