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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Ind. Law - "Ag gag" bill fails in Indiana; passes in Iowa

A so-called "ag gag" bill, SB 184, authored by Senators Grooms and Holdman, failed to move out of Senate committee in 2012. The digest:

Unlawful recording of agricultural operations. Makes it unlawful recording of agricultural operations, a Class A misdemeanor, for a person to: (1) enter real property that is owned by another person and on which agricultural operations are being conducted; and (2) take a photograph of or make a video recording or motion picture of the real property, structures located on the real property, or the agricultural operations being conducted on the real property; without the written consent of the owner of the real property or an authorized representative of the owner.
The Iowa State Daily reported on March 18, in a story by Randi Reeder:
Two weeks ago, Gov. Terry Branstad signed House File 549, an "ag gag" bill that has made it illegal to expose incriminating undercover evidence of animal abuse.

This is a new concept brought to the issue of whistle-blowing for animal abuse in the agricultural industry and is being called a threat to the health and safety of consumers along with violating the freedom of the press.

Before this bill, what the farms had to protect themselves was “good old-fashioned trespassing,” said Barbara Mack, who is a lawyer and associate professor of journalism and communication. “What I don’t understand is why it’s even necessary.” * * *

“This bill moves this out of the realm civil and into realm of criminal behavior,” Mack said. * * *

Iowa was the first state to pass this bill. Other states such as Utah, Nebraska, Minnesota, Missouri, Illinois, New York and Indiana are discussing passing similar "ag gag" bills. These states include some of the nation’s most concentrated factory farming practices.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on March 31, 2012 09:10 AM
Posted to Indiana Law