PETA may file lawsuit challenging “ag gag” law


March 6th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

A spokesman for an animal rights organization says his group may file a lawsuit challenging a new Iowa law that establishes new penalties for trying to go undercover on a farm or in a livestock confinement. Dan Mathews, a senior vice president for PETA — People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, says the law sends a message that there’s something to hide on Iowa farms. “It’s brought a lot of people to our website wanting to see the footage that we got at the Hormel farm in Iowa that everyone got so upset about and wants to keep cameras off farms as a result of that case,” Mathews says. “I think that this is going to come back to haunt Iowa agriculture more than they could ever imagine.” Mathews says Iowa has “singled itself out” as a state with something to hide.

“I don’t think that is a very strong message to send to consumers,” Mathews says. Mathews expects some of PETA’s student groups may try to keep Iowa-raised beef out of school cafeterias and while Mathews says “all options” are on the table, he’s not sure about a nationwide boycott of Iowa-raised food. Governor Branstad says if a person goes on Iowa farm property “through fraud or deception or lying”, they should be held legally accountable for trying to “disrupt agricultural operations.”

(O. Kay Henderson/Radio Iowa)