An Iowa bill that would prohibit the type of undercover videos and photographs upon which humane groups rely to expose what they view as abuses in animal agriculture passed the House by a vote of 66-27 this morning.
The bill, Iowa House File 589, faces further voting in the Senate.
Proponents include the bill’s chief sponsor, Rep. Annette Sweeney. Those opposed include Rep. Jim Lykam and Sen. Matt McCoy.
In 2009 Mercy for Animals (MFA) released disturbing video obtained at Hy-Line International, an egg hatchery in Spencer, Iowa. The group’s undercover investigator “covertly documented the systemic cruelty chicks at this hatchery are subjected to,” according to MFA’s “Hatchery Horrors” video.
The video shows male chicks being roughly tossed onto conveyor belts and into machines that grind them up alive. The practice, used to eliminate millions of unwanted male chicks per year because they don’t lay eggs and “don’t grow large or fast enough,” according to MFA, is legal and common in Iowa as well as in many other states.
Listen to AnimalBeat.org’s Animal Air audio interview with Tom Colvin, executive director of Animal Rescue League of Iowa, and president of Iowa Federaton of Humane Societies.
Several voice mail messages left for Rep. Sweeney have not yet been returned.
FROM IOWA HOUSE FILE 589 –
Sec. 9. NEW SECTION . 717A.2A Animal facility interference.
15 1. A person is guilty of animal facility interference, if the person acts without the consent of the owner of an animal facility to willfully do any of the following:
(1) Produce a record which reproduces an image or sound occurring at the animal facility as follows:
(a) The record must be created by the person while at the animal facility.
(b) The record must be a reproduction of a visual or audio experience occurring at the animal facility, including but not limited to a photographic or audio medium.
(2) Possess or distribute a record which produces an image or sound occurring at the animal facility which was produced as provided in subparagraph (1).
(3) Subparagraphs (1) and (2) do not apply to an animal 29 shelter, a boarding kennel, a commercial kennel, a pet shop, or a pound, all as defined in section 162.2.
Sec. 10. NEW SECTION . 717A.2B Animal facility fraud.
1. A person is guilty of animal facility fraud, if the person willfully does any of the following:
a. Obtains access to an animal facility by false pretenses for the purpose of committing an act not authorized by the owner of the animal facility.
b. Makes a false statement or representation as part of an application to be employed at the animal facility, if the person knows the statement to be false, and makes the statement with an intent to commit an act not authorized by the owner of the animal facility.
2. A person who commits the offense of animal facility fraud is guilty of the following:
a. For the first conviction, the person is guilty of an aggravated misdemeanor.
b. For a second or subsequent conviction, the person guilty of a class “D” felony.
3. A person convicted of animal facility fraud is subject to an order of restitution as provided in chapter 910.
4. This section does not apply to an animal shelter, a boarding kennel, a commercial kennel, a pet shop, or a pound, all as defined in section 162.2. 6 Sec. 11.
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Katerina Lorenzatos Makris (a.k.a. Kathryn Makris) has written 18 books for major publishers and hundreds of articles for publications such as National Geographic Traveler, San Francisco Chronicle, Mother Jones, Petside.com, and two regional news wire services.
A cofounder of AnimalBeat.org, she holds a B.A. in Environmental Science Studies and a lifelong interest in animal issues.
Among her books are Your Adopted Dog: Everything You Need to Know about Rescuing and Caring for a Best Friend in Need (The Lyons Press), coauthored with Shelley Frost, and The Eco-Kids, a series of novels for tweens (Avon Books).
Her story “Small Change” placed as a finalist in The Bark magazine’s short fiction contest and appeared in the November 2010 issue.
She may be reached at [email protected]