10 May 2012. Bills to prohibit undercover videos of farms were introduced in several state legislatures including Florida, Iowa, Minnesota and New York. These “ag-gag” laws prohibited the making of undercover videos, photographs and sound recordings, although they differed in terms of penalties and which other activities were also prohibited.
Iowa’s ag-gag bill was passed in 2012.
In March, Utah became the second state to criminalize undercover investigations on factory farms. These investigations are crucial not only to expose animal abuse, but to also safeguard the food supply.
Large corporations in the agro-industry make big contributions to campaign funds and are able to get away with animal abuse and unhealthy practices in the farms. Many of these farms were even visited by USDA officials.
It was undercover investigations that led to groundbreaking exposure of mad cow disease.
Mercy For Animals (MFA)’s Director of Investigations Matt Rice said, “This is an industry that’s proven time and time again to be incapable of self regulation, and no other industry has these kinds of protections. You could imagine these laws being passed to protect daycares so that people couldn’t expose child abuse or sexual assault at a day care or a senior home – that wouldn’t fly.” But unfortunately, the factory farming industry “has so much money and so much power,” Matt continued, that “they’re able to influence some corrupt politicians to push this type of legislation through, often under the nose of their constituents, but once constituents find out about it, they are outraged; they want more transparency in food production, not less, and they’re speaking out against it.”
Watch this video.