On Friday, March 2, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad quietly signed HF 589, the ag-gag law, which creates the crime of “agricultural production facility fraud." Anyone who gains access to a farm by lying on a job application and commits an act not authorized by the owner could face serious or aggravated misdemeanor charges.
The law is aimed at suppressing undercover investigations of Iowa agricultural facilities including:
-- Sparboe Farms, the fifth-largest egg producer in the country and a major supplier to McDonald's - http://www.mcdonaldscruelty.com/
-- Iowa Select, the state's largest factory pig farm - http://www.mercyforanimals.org/pigabuse/
-- Hy-Line Hatchery, the largest hatchery of egg-laying breed chicks in the world - http://www.mercyforanimals.org/hatchery/
Each of these investigations has resulted in international media coverage, shedding light on routine cruelty and abuse on factory farms. But rather than cleaning up the abuse so rampant in their state's top industry, legislators and Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad have elected to cover it up – by making it illegal to film at these facilities. The ag-gag legislation they have passed punishes not the factory farmers guilty of the abuse, but the whistleblowers bringing it to light.
See what Iowa agriculture has to hide at http://www.mfablog.org/2012/03/shame-on-iowa-governor-signs-ag-gag-bill-to-protect-animal-abusers.html. Then sign this petition pledging to boycott Iowa, the ag-gag state.
Many thanks to graphic artist David Bethell for the petition image.
The Stop Ag-Gag Coalition includes:
-- Citizens Against Ag-Gag Legislation - http://www.facebook.com/pages/Citizens-Against-Ag-Gag-Legislation/146201808805567
-- A.E.L.L.A. - http://www.facebook.com/AELLA.ORG
-- Stop HumaneWatch - http://www.facebook.com/StopHumaneWatch
-- Boycott Iowa, the Ag-Gag State - http://www.facebook.com/BoycottIowaTheAgGagState
When your state passes laws designed to silence whistle blowers, it makes me wonder if in fact the documentation that has come out showing overt and extremely troubling animal abuse, and unsanitary, unsafe production conditions is more common than uncommon. Why else would you pass such a law to make it more difficult for these things to be reported?
I would prefer to consume products from sources that are willing to be forthright and open about their practices regarding the way our food is produced. Therefore, until such time that laws designed to keep consumers in the dark are repealed, I will refuse to purchase any meat, dairy, or eggs coming from Iowa.
In addition, I will be asking my grocer and companies that make my favorite products where their meat, dairy, eggs, and ingredients are coming from. I will tell them why I am asking and request they avoid products from Iowa.
Thank you for your time,