States Take Up Bills Barring Undercover Videos of CAFOS

"Bills aimed at blocking the release of videos taken by activist groups of conditions in confined animal feeding operations are being considered by state legislatures in Iowa, Minnesota and Florida.

Derided as 'ag gag' measures by activists, the bills are being promoted by agribusiness interests that maintain such videos contain disturbing images that inaccurately portray farm activities.

'Unfortunately, today we're seeing more and more farmers come under attack by these activist groups that have the single goal of eliminating animal agriculture in its entirety,' said Sarah Hubbart, communications director for the Animal Agriculture Alliance, an industry nonprofit.

At issue are undercover operations by activist groups like the Humane Society of the United States, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and Mercy for Animals and documentary filmmakers that produce videos showing cattle being bludgeoned to death, baby chickens being shepherded into grinders and unsanitary conditions.

CAFO opponents, meanwhile, say those undercover videos are critical to making the public and regulators aware of conditions at livestock operations. "What our investigations do is allow us to become the eyes and ears for the public," said Matt Rice, Mercy for Animals' director of operations."

Amanda Peterka reports for Greenwire May 5, 2011.

Friday, May 6, 2011