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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

3/4/2014 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Bill passed in response to animal rights activist filming farm's activities

Thanks to a new law, filming activities at Idaho farms - clandestinely or otherwise, will be strictly prohibited. Idaho last week became the first state in two years to pass a bill aimed at stop filming at farms and dairy producers. Animal rights activists refer to the bill as the "ag gag" bill. Undercover animal rights activists had previously exposed animal abuse at one of Idaho's largest dairy operations 2012.

Animal rights groups say the measure will have a negative effect on those who try to expose wrongdoing at Idaho farms.

Animal rights groups say the measure will have a negative effect on those who try to expose wrongdoing at Idaho farms.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

3/4/2014 (1 year ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Agriculture, filming, farm abuses, new law


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Signed into law by Idaho Gov. C.L. Otter last week, the measure passed the Senate earlier in February. The law had been welcomed by agricultural representatives who said it would help ensure farmers' right to privacy.

Animal rights groups, however, say the measure will have a negative effect on those who try to expose wrongdoing at Idaho farms.

"Gov. Otter has decided to keep corrupt factory farming practices from the public. He's created a safe haven for animal abuse," Matt Rice, the director of investigations at Mercy for Animals says. His group made the 2012 video that sparked Idaho's "ag-gag" debate. "These are facilities that supply food to the entire country. No other industry has the kind of immunity."

Anyone caught secretly filming farm activities afterwards faces punishment. A sentence of up to a year in prison and a $5,000 fine now await people who secretly enter and record agricultural operations. The bill also criminalizes falsifying documents such as resumes in order to get hired on a farm.

"We're extremely pleased that the bill passed," Bob Naerebout, director Idaho Dairymen's Association says. "Even though there was a lot of negative ads run on this bill, and even though the bill was misrepresented (by animal rights groups), Idaho's legislators were able to see through that."

The heated debate on filming at farms started in 2012 when someone hired by Mercy for Animals got a job at a Bettencourt Dairies operation in Hansen and filmed workers caning, beating - as well as sexually abusing cows.

The video was used to prosecute employees at the dairy, and it convinced Idaho's dairy industry to create a worker training program to help prevent animal abuse. The law also set in motion a concerted effort by the dairy industry to make sure such embarrassing videos weren't made in the state again.

So-called ag-gag bills have had trouble making their way through legislatures recently. Fifteen were introduced in 11 states last year, but none of them were signed into law. Two bills have also been defeated in Indiana and New Hampshire so far this year.

Idaho now joins Iowa, Utah and Missouri as the fourth state to have a bill making it illegal to film on farms.

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