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Blog for Last Chance for Animals, an international non-profit dedicated to ending animal cruelty and exploitation.

Iowa Governor Signs "Freedom-Crushing" Ag-Gag Bill Into Law

3.18.19On Thursday, March 14, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed SF 519 (also known as Ag-Gag 2.0) into law effective immediately, making "agricultural production facility trespass" a crime and allowing for the prosecution of those that use deception or conspire with others in order to gain access to agricultural facilities "with the intent to cause physical or economic harm or other injury to the agricultural production facility's operations, agricultural animals, crop, owner, personnel, equipment, building, premises, business interest, or customer."

Under the new law, violators who commit "agricultural production facility trespass" would be charged with a "serious misdemeanor for a first offense and an aggravated misdemeanor for a second or subsequent offense."

"Ag-gag" is a term that describes state-level legislation aimed at punishing whistleblowers on factory farms throughout the United States. Ag-gag laws are the agricultural industry's attempt at hiding the abuses and horrific treatment of animals on factory farms. Undercover investigations are crucial in exposing animal cruelty within the agricultural industry and have led to criminal convictions, lawsuits, and major recalls, as well as exposing consumers to the hidden practices of agribusiness. 

This is not the first time Iowa has tried to silence whistleblowers — on March 2, 2012, Iowa signed ag-gag bill HF 589 into law, prohibiting undercover investigators from obtaining employment at agricultural facilities under false pretenses. Seven years later, on January 9, 2019, the bill was struck down in federal court for violating the First Amendment 

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

- Stay informed about current ag-gag laws CLICK HERE to see where your state stands.

- Contact your state legislators (visit www.govtrack.us/congress/members to locate your state's representatives):

  • Kansas currently has ag-gag litigation pending. If you live in this state, contact your local legislators and urge them to not support the bill.
  • If you live in a state where an ag-gag law currently exists, such as Iowa, contact your state legislators and demand a repeal. 

 

Click here to learn more about ag-gag laws. 

 

Photo: Pexels

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