The Agriculture Committee of the Iowa State Senate has approved a bill that would prevent animal rights activists from getting hired on farms to secretly record what they believe is the mistreatment of livestock. The bill would make it illegal to secretly record and distribute videos and punish those who take jobs on farms only to gain access to record animals’ treatment. Penalties include up to five years in prison and fines of up to 75-hundred dollars. The bill previously passed the Iowa House of Representatives.
Critics of the bill say it would have a chilling effect on free speech and the question of whether it is constitutional could be challenged in court, something that could prove expensive for the state. Critics’ primary concern is the constitutionality of the bill. Adam Mason of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement says – it seems like it’s going to limit free speech of individuals.
Iowa Senator Tom Rielly says – the bill needs more work. But, if somebody is truly a whistleblower they need to blow the whistle, and that’s what we’re trying to do