Two Iowa legislators have reintroduced legislation aimed at stopping undercover activities of animal activists around livestock producers’ farms.
The measure introduced by Sen. Joe Seng (D-IA) and Sen. Tim Kapucian (R-IA), a former president of the Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA), is known as the Ag Protection Act (House File 589), according to Cody McKinley, public policy director for the IPPA.
Last year’s version of the legislation focused on penalizing individuals for involvement in production of undercover farm videos to expose alleged animal abuse.
That approach encountered constitutional issues involving freedom of speech that were addressed by the Iowa attorney general’s office.
This year’s amendment to the bill focuses mainly on individuals being hired on a farm under false pretenses, McKinley says, known in the bill as “agricultural production facility fraud.” This would include making false statements with the intent to commit an act not authorized by the owner of the agricultural production facility.
Penalties for committing a serious misdemeanor and an aggravated misdemeanor include fines and possible imprisonment.
The bill made it to the Iowa Senate floor last week but at this point has not been scheduled for any hearings, McKinley says.
A bill recently introduced in Nebraska would require people who suspect animal abuse or neglect to report their suspicion to authorities within 12 hours, instead of the current two-day window. Individuals would be required to surrender all video, photo and audio evidence to investigators or face felony prosecution.