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Ag Rules, Meet the Farmarazzi

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Food Safety page, Iowa News page, Farm Issues page, and our Disturbing Facts on Factory Farming & Food Safety page.


As children, my brothers and I enjoyed a level of freedom that might make a modern parent gasp, and sometimes we exercised that freedom in the kitchen, where we fed one another weird concoctions that tended toward the un-healthy: spoons full of sugar mixed with water to make our specialty, 'shwater,' whole bouillon cubes added to already salty ramen, you get the picture.

The only time I ever refused to sample my brothers' culinary creations was when asked to close my eyes during its preparation. I may have been a child, and one with a sense of humor, but I wasn't an idiot.

So, proposed legislation in three states - Iowa, Minnesota and Florida - that would criminalize the filming, photography or audio recording of farms (the general assumption seems to be that the bills are meant to protect CAFOs - concentrated animal feeding operations, also referred to as factory farms -  but could apply to any farm of any nature) raised a major red flag to me, and to others who follow and write about such issues. People you'd expect to raise a protest, like Humane Society's Wayne Pacelle and Animal Welfare Approved director Andrew Guenther have done so, but mainstream media, especially the New York Times, has also done a great job, with this pointed op-ed and Mark Bittman's excellent "Who Protects the Animals?" (in which he coins the phrase "ag-gag").


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