ASPCA Urges Iowa Governor to Veto Dangerous "Ag-Gag" Legislation

House File 589 passes Iowa General Assembly
February 29, 2012

NEW YORK—In response to the Iowa General Assembly’s passage of House File (HF) 589 Tuesday, the ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is urging Governor Terry Branstad to veto the dangerous “ag-gag” bill. HF 589 would criminalize activities used to conduct undercover investigations on farms, penalize whistleblowers, and protect animal abusers instead of working to prevent such mistreatment.

This dangerous bill is aimed at preventing investigations on farms that expose inhumane and cruel treatment of animals. However, HF 589 also has the potential to suppress the exposure of child abuse, drug use, assault, theft, violations of workers' rights and other illegal or unethical activity. A broad spectrum of groups representing environmental, workers’ rights, civil liberties, public health and food safety interests have joined animal protection organizations in opposing the ag-gag legislation.

“The ASPCA urges Governor Branstad to prevent this harmful and unnecessary bill from becoming law,” said Suzanne McMillan, director of the ASPCA farm animal welfare campaign. “We need additional transparency, not less, regarding the production of our food supply. Documentation by whistleblowers exposes animal abuse, environmental dangers, and serious health problems with our food supply. Where there are problems, industry should direct its energy toward resolving them, not covering them up.”

A newly released poll commissioned by the ASPCA and conducted by Lake Research Partners reveals that almost two-thirds (64 percent) of Americans oppose making undercover investigations of animal abuse on industrial farms illegal. Accordingly, 71 percent of Americans support undercover investigative efforts by animal welfare organizations to expose animal abuse on industrial farms, including 54 percent who strongly support the efforts. The nationwide survey also reveals that 94 percent of Americans feel that it is important to have measures in place to ensure that food coming from farm animals is safe for people to eat, and 94 percent agree that animals raised for food on farms deserve to be free from abuse and cruelty.

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