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Potter writes: "Iowa is set to become the first state to pass one of the recent 'Ag Gag' laws introduced across the country to target undercover investigators who expose animal welfare violations on factory farms."

Iowa is pushing to keep activists from exposing the conditions in the state's factory farms. (photo: Rosino/flickr)
Iowa is pushing to keep activists from exposing the conditions in the state's factory farms. (photo: Rosino/flickr)

What Are Iowa's Factory Farms Trying to Hide?

By Will Potter, Green Is the New Red

03 March 12


The video below compiled by Mercy For Animals includes video shot at McDonald's former egg supplier Sparboe Egg Farms. Once made public, the video led to McDonald's dropping Sparboe's contract. A note of warning, the video is graphic and discretion is advised. -- JPS/RSN

owa is set to become the first state to pass one of the recent "Ag Gag" laws introduced across the country to target undercover investigators who expose animal welfare violations on factory farms.

House File 589 creates a new crime of "agricultural production facility fraud," and it has already passed the Iowa House and Senate with bipartisan support. It is on the desk of Gov. Terry Branstad for signature or veto.

The bill, and similar efforts such as Utah's Ag Gag bill, carve out special protections in the law to shield factory farms from public scrutiny.

As Randall Wilson of the Iowa Civil Liberties Union of Iowa said: "We all know it's a thinly veiled attempt to eliminate investigative reporting and whistle-blowing regarding abuses in our food production chain."

It should come as no surprise who is behind these efforts. For example, Iowa State Rep Annette Sweeney, a proponent of the bill, is the former Executive Director of the Iowa Angus Association. And Simpson Farms, Florida’s second biggest egg producer, helped draft the language of that bill target animal welfare activists with up to 30 years in prison. It failed.

These Ag Gag bills comes at a time when undercover investigators have changed the national dialogue about factory farms, and brought images of standard industry practices into the pages of national newspapers and the evening TV news.

Rather than take responsibility for systemic animal welfare violations, corporations would much rather punish, and silence, the whistleblowers.

Do you want to know what Big Ag is trying to hide?

Check out this video from Mercy for Animals that includes undercover footage from factory farms in Iowa. (Video contains graphic images, discretion is advised.)

Then call Governor Terry Branstad at (515) 281-5211 and urge him to veto the bill. your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

+34 # Willman 2012-03-03 20:01
Its ok for the right wing to do their secret videos and then edit them down to achieve their desired effect, but when it comes to the animals, nooo way can this be done.
Boycott the factory farms and buy local.
+3 # noitall 2012-03-04 11:51
Even some local farmers treat their animals as though they don't have minds or sense pain. They are products. Eating animals and being thankful for the gift and knowing that they lived happy lives is nourishment for the soul. Let your producer know that you care.
+5 # Adoregon 2012-03-04 13:52
Time to evolve beyond:

1) The notion that humans are the crown of creation and have the right to do whatever they they want with other life forms, whether animal of plant.

2) The idea that eating dead flesh, chicken embryos and other animal derived products is somehow the bright thing to do nutritionally.

3)The notion that large scale mammal culture and slaughter is anything but hideous and cruel.

Go to:

Give it some thought...
+35 # RMDC 2012-03-03 20:11
That video is too horrifying to watch -- but it is real. Industrial animal production is a crime. The cruelty to animals is just horrific. How can Americans put up with this?
+6 # noitall 2012-03-04 11:57
You forget. Look at the American-inflic ted carnage that is happening world-wide. To think that numb Americans can put it together to FEEL none the less react might be asking too much. But it is obvious by this article that Big AG isn't going to take any chances. Keep them numb and dumb and shoveling burgers, sausage, and chicken McNodules. BTW, there isn't a potato in Idaho that isn't Monsanto and ALL McDonald's fries are Monsanto. Think about that. We are being abused as wickedly as the animals.
+2 # noitall 2012-03-04 12:02
Try to watch this clip on youtube. It's censored there too, "might be inappropriate for some viewers". If a child saw this they might want something more healthy than the crap this becomes at fast food outlets. Ignorance is NOT bliss.
+4 # Terrapin 2012-03-04 14:24
Industrial animal production is a crime. The cruelty to animals is just horrific. How can Americans put up with this?

The reeking stench of PROFIT Ueber Alles ...
Yes, the point is How long WILL people put up with this once this information is widely disseminated? Hence the Ag-Gag bill.

Of the 10 billion chickenwings consumed during that greatest of American Hypnosis Events, The SuperBowl, did ANYONE give a ratsass about the conditions their Industrial Chicken was manufactured in?

Anyone read "The Jungle" lately?
+18 # cordleycoit 2012-03-04 00:19
Living in an intencive ly parinod agricultural state, Colorado we know that there is more stuff going into hte cow/pig/chicken than simple toxins. Look at the awful weight the average Iowan puts on. Is it something in the meat or something in the corn something in Soy, all that and lots more. The state belongs to the chemical religous industry and they do not want the rest of the people to find out how much poison goes into the food chain.
It is time to occupy the food chain.
+5 # tbcrawford 2012-03-04 11:34
You are right on. Corporate food industry is dead set against consumers knowing howthey are eating is produced! In California we are simply asking that foods made with genetically modified ingredients be we can know what we're eating. This includes animal feed. Gross obesity, Asthema, Autism, on and on...why the sudden epidemic proportions in the past 20 years? Curious isn't it? I'm convinced the hideous abuse of animals also affects the quality of the food. From what they're fed and their confined lives to the abatoir -- it's gruesome. Do you think the people who treat animals this way are responsible for the hateful rhetoric that dominates our lives today?
+3 # noitall 2012-03-04 11:48
Does Christianity allow this sort of thing? Being a republicant-dri ven paranoia, I'd assume that they are Christian. A dear friend told me that the reason he left the seminary after 7 years was that he was ordered to kill the litter of puppies that a stray dog that frequented the seminary had there. He refused, so the head brother, in my friend's presence, threw each of the infant puppies against the brick wall, killing them. Does Christianity, putting man above all other life on Earth ("in the image of God") allow for this and therefore the predicament that we find our world? biodiversity is necessary in Nature for ALL life to thrive. All life is powered by the same spark. We must be kept ignorant otherwise who would eat those corpses?
+8 # acermay 2012-03-04 11:56
Just a reminder- there are plenty of FAMILY farms out here who oppose this and welcome inspections.

Family farms are NOT factory farms. We care about our animals, each of them. We CAN care about them because we dont raise thousands at a time.

If you are concerned about the way livestock animals are treated, go to the Animal Welfare Approved site to find farms who care about their animals and are inspected every year with the strictest criteria out there.

Animals should be treated with respect, kindness and given access to everything each species needs.
0 # Rick Levy 2012-03-04 20:13
A voice of reason and sanity.
0 # Rick Levy 2012-03-04 20:19
Its' in meat eaters' interest to fight "Ag-Gag bills" because the worse the abuse of these livestock, the greater danger to humans. See "Caution: Belief in Creationism May Be Hazardous to Your Health (and Mine)".
+3 # sheila Cee 2012-03-04 14:12
Besides the awful way these animals are treated, factory farms use massive amounts of antibiotics in their animals to control disease. These antibiotics don't magically disappear from their tissues when they are slaughtered. People who eat these animals are ingesting antibiotics. The result is that many antibiotics have become ineffective in controlling disease. That leaves humans vulnerable to these diseases.

Another reason for becoming a vegetarian. I find it amazing that people still are willing to eat this garbage that endangers their lives.
+3 # sheila Cee 2012-03-04 14:17
Another example of attacking whistleblowers is the attack on undercover investigators who expose animal welfare violations on factory farms.

People who expose illegal actions should be rewarded, not punished.
+2 # Tippitc 2012-03-04 15:05
First we have 'veggie libel' laws and now 'ag gag' - what more evidence do we need to know that the "food" industry is totally corrupt?! We are all just so many guinea pigs in this evil system - not much different than the poor animals being tortured every day!!
+1 # eoarchitect 2012-03-04 17:30
The animal processing industry feels so violated that they have whipped their legislators into declaring that publishing information about the monstrous treatment of "farm" creatures deserves punishment equivalent to first degree murder. This speaks mountains about us as we entertain the self-congratula tory idea that we are a sentient species. I guess we haven't quite acquired a small degree of communal consciousness yet, sensing how connected all living things are, indeed how connected all things are. That is too bad. We have terrible global problems resulting from our unfortunate reliance on our narrow selfish interests. We have to start to think differently. What would it take for you to forego eating any part of an animal tomorrow? I feel sure that if an animal could know of this, it would be grateful. You could even think about this before you plan your following day's meals.

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