Bob Naerebout, who heads the Idaho Dairymen's Association that promoted the measure, said Runkle has it wrong.
Naerebout contends Mercy For Animals unfairly sought to persuade Bettencourt's customers to stop buying its milk products — even after the farm's owner, Luis Bettencourt, fired five workers filmed mistreating cows and cooperated with their prosecution.
“The purpose of the bill was not to hide anything, the purpose of the bill was to address those who get on agriculture operations under false pretenses, with a predetermination to cause injury and economic harm,” Naerebout said. “The dairy producers of Idaho — and dairy producers across this nation — take extremely good care of their cattle.”
In the wake of the abuse, the University of Idaho Extension, along with the College of Southern Idaho, worked with the dairy industry to offer a program to help teach dairy workers about proper animal care, milking, calf raising and feeding dairy animals.
At least one of the Bettencourt workers pictured in the Mercy For Animals video pleaded guilty to misdemeanor animal cruelty and spent time in jail.