Just this week, the Iowa legislature passed a bill that would make it a crime to use false pretenses to gain access to a livestock operation to engage in activities not authorized by the owner.
If the governor signs the bill into law, Iowa will join Montana, North Dakota and Kansas in enacting what activists call “ag gag” laws, which criminalize undercover photography or video inside animal farms.
Why are legislators (and the farming industry) so pissed off about these videos that they want them made illegal? Well, probably because they’re working.
The industry accepts that some standard practices may have to change to assuage the public’s concerns. Just last month, Nancy Shute reported that McDonald’s said it would require its U.S. pork suppliers to phase out the use of gestational crates for pregnant sows. Smithfield, the nation’s largest hog producer, says it’s in the process of moving pregnant sows on company farms from individual gestation stalls into group housing arrangements for the animals’ welfare.
Get Grist in your inbox