“Ag Gag” Bill Goes Before Legislative Committee…Again

Lawmakers are considering a second attempt to penalize people who get an Iowa farm job in order to make undercover videos or harm the animals. Republican Representative Jarad Klein, a farmer from Keota, says the livestock industry is the “life blood” of Iowa’s economy and it must be protected from bad actors.

A federal judge recently ruled a similar Iowa law, passed seven years ago, was unconstitutional. Backers of this new bill say it matches part of an Idaho law that was recently upheld in federal court. Drew Mogler of the Iowa Pork Producers Association says the proposal will safeguard livestock farms from people who intend to “physically or financially” cause harm.

Daniel Zeno of the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa says while the bill appears to be narrower than the 2012 law, it likely would be challenged in court.

Representative Bruce Bearinger of Oelwein, a Democrat, says the bill could help deter “bio-terrorists” who seek to spread disease in swine herds and poultry barns.

This new bill is being considered in the House Agriculture Committee. It would let people be prosecuted for seeking a job working with Iowa livestock, in order to inflict financial damages.