Organic Consumers Association

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Cook Organic not the Planet Campaign

Iowa Passes Outrageous Law Demanding Total Secrecy Over Factory Meat Filth and Cruelty Practices

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Politics and Democracy page and our Factory Farming & Food Safety page, and our Iowa News page.
Capturing undercover footage of extreme animal abuse at factory farms is soon to be illegal in Iowa, thanks to the passage of a new bill that squelches First Amendment protections for agricultural whistleblowers. In one of the fastest legislative rush-throughs in history, the "American Heartland" state's House and Senate recently passed House File 589, also known as the "ag-gag" bill, which redefines undercover filming and various other whistle-blowing activities as "agricultural production facility fraud" punishable under the law.

Prior to the passage of the bill, which now sits on Republican Governor Terry Branstad's desk for signing, exposing the horrific conditions in many of Iowa's factory farms was a legally-protected free speech right. Once signed into law, however, H.F. 589 will make Iowa the first state in America to actively muzzle individuals from exposing the ugly truth about what takes place at chicken farms, animal processing plants, and even behemoth genetically-modified (GM) crops farms across the state.

"This flawed and misdirected legislation could set a dangerous precedent nationwide by throwing shut the doors to industrial factory farms and allowing animal abuse, environmental violations, and food contamination issues to flourish undetected, unchallenged and unaddressed," said Nathan Runkle, executive director of the Chicago-based animal rights group Mercy for Animals (MFA), to Food Safety News. "This bill is bad for consumers, who want more, not less, transparency in production of their food."


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