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Iowa state legislature considering bill that would outlaw undercover videos in all agricultural facilities

A pair of Iowa hogs.
A pair of Iowa hogs.
Todd Ehlers/Flickr (cc by-nc-nd)

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Upton Sinclair’s book The Jungle, which went into excruciating detail of the grotesque conditions and practices at a meatpacking plant, played a seminal role in federal regulation of the agricultural industry. It is in this same vein that animal rights groups such as The Humane Society and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals have been using surreptitious methods to document unsanitary conditions and abusive behavior at agricultural facilities on video. In Iowa, a state which leads the U.S. in pork and egg production, a bill outlawing undercover videos in agricultural facilities has passed through the House and the Senate Agriculture Committee, but hit a snag as the attorney general cited the issue of free speech in regards to prohibiting the use of imagery. Will the bill’s language be compromised to ensure passage? Is this another example of business using the government to protect and serve its own interests? Do the videos serve a positive societal purpose worth safeguarding?


Joe Miller, General Counsel for Rose Acre Farms in Iowa

Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States