Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Cody Carlson writes in the Atlantic that Iowa recently passed HF 589, better known as the "Ag Gag" law, that criminalizes investigative journalists and animal protection advocates who take entry-level jobs at factory farms in order to document the rampant food safety and animal welfare abuses within. The original version of the law would have made it a crime to take, possess, or share pictures of factory farms that were taken without the owner's consent, but the Iowa Attorney General rejected this measure out of First Amendment concerns. As amended, the law achieves the same result by making it a crime to give a false statement on an "agricultural production" job application (PDF). As a Humane Society of the United States investigator, Carlson worked undercover at four Iowa egg farms in the winter of 2010 and witnessed disturbing trends of extreme animal cruelty and dangerously unsanitary conditions. "Millions of haggard, featherless hens languished in crowded, microwave-sized wire cages. Unable to even spread their wings, many were forced to pile atop their dead and rotting cage mates as they laid their eggs." The Ag Gag laws also protect the slaughterhouses that regularly send sick and dying animals into our food supply, and would prevent some of the biggest food safety recalls in US. history. "In short, the Ag Gag laws muzzle the few people that are telling the truth about our food," writes Carlson. "Now, the foxes are truly guarding the henhouse.""
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