HSUS Targeting Iowa Legislation

Posted: 4/2/2011

Posted By:  Steve Dick

Yet again, activists from the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and other anti-agriculture groups are hard at work in a neighboring state.  This time, it is Iowa.

In March, the Iowa House of Representatives passed a bill that would prohibit videotaping on farm operations without the farmer's permission. Its purpose is to protect farmers from people who gain employment through deceit so they can create videos that would be used to hurt the farm operation.

The Senate Ag Committee is expected to vote later this week on whether the bill will move forward for a vote in the full Senate.

HSUS and other organizations like PETA, Mercy for Animals, and Humane Farming Association have hired extra lobbying power and stepped up public relations activity in Iowa so they can demonstrate nationally that their agenda is more preferred than are the interests of Iowa farmers. The Senate has been swamped with calls and e-mails from HSUS members. In one case, a Senator has had 3200 emails from all over the United States.

Click here to listen to an interview with Kevin Vinschattle of the Iowa Poultry Association about the legislation and how it would support farmers against activists seeking employment under false pretenses.  Vinschattle points out that the actions of someone knowingly witnessing and videotaping mistreatment of animals, but not reporting it immediately to farm owners or authorities are extremely unethical.  

In several cases, activist groups have used "creative editing" or encouraged mistreatment of animals at livestock facilities in order to capture the "gotcha" footage that would portray producers in a negative light.  Gary Conklin, an Ohio dairy producer whose farm was targeted by activists last year has talked publicly about his experiences and lessons learned

This issue is just another example of how quickly activist organizations can raise money and generate publicity to deter policies that would support production agriculture.  And, more importantly, it is another example of why farmers, ranchers and agriculture supporters need to continue efforts to tell positive stories about livestock production.


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