Iowa: OPPOSE AG-GAG Bills That Would Criminalize Exposing Animal Cruelty

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Please OPPOSE SF 431 and HF 589

Dear [Decision Maker],

I am writing to ask you to veto SF 431/HF 589, which would criminalize the efforts of individuals who attempt to expose any unlawful cruelty at animal facilities, including food production facilities. Under the provisions of this bill, video footage exposing the abuse of animals would be unlawful. This would mean that documenting abuses at the California slaughterhouse operated by Westland/Hallmark Meat Company, which showed downed cows being dragged into the slaughterhouse with chains, and the video of turkeys being violently kicked and thrown at the North Carolina Butterball facility, would be considered criminal acts.

If this measure is passed, the individuals who document abuse at commercial animal facilities would be punished, not the individuals participating in the abuse. While bill proponents may argue that they are opposed to unauthorized pictures or videos in order to protect proprietary information, the reality is that they are opposed to public oversight of their operations. Iowa leads the country in pork and egg production and should be proud of their product record, not opposing any efforts to show what practices are in use.

The bills, as passed by the legislature, would require workers to jeopardize their jobs in order to report an abuse, no matter how egregious or harmful to animal or human health. And they would risk criminal charges in speaking up about what they see, even if they had been working legitimately in a facility for years. This measure will ensure that there is a culture of silence, whatever the cost.

Please oppose the passage of this legislation by exercising your veto. Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State ZIP]

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