Idaho ranks as one of the nation’s top milk-producing states, and though the state has a “Right to Farm” law meant to protect the state’s agricultural, one Senator doesn’t think it does enough.
According to Twin Falls (Idaho) Times-News, lifelong farmer and Republican State Sen. Jim Patrick introduced a measure last week that would penalize anybody who enters an agricultural production facility and records operations without permission.
If passed, Patrick points the measure would supplement the state’s “Right to Farm” law and add additional protect to the state’s farms and ranches from undercover investigations from animal activists.
However, activist groups are already jumping to quash the bill. The Humane Society of the United States, a group responsible for leading efforts to defeat similar so-called “ag-gag” bills in states across the country, have already released Internet messages to persuade the state Legislature.
The state made headlines in 2012 after Mercy for Animals released undercover footage at the Bettencourt Dairies’ Dry Creek Dairy facility near Hansen, Idaho, showing animal cruelty. In the wake of the abuse claims, three former workers at the dairy were charged and changes made in employee training and vetting. Click here for more.
However, the dairy’s owner Luis Bettencourt points that the activists behind the footage weren’t an innocent party.
“If you watch the whole video you will see the employee (who filmed the video) kicked and abused a cow,” Bettencourt told the group. “He instigated and participated in the abuse.”
Idaho is just the latest in states to introduce ag protection bills, including Arizona, Indiana and New Hampshire. Last year, “ag gag” bills took center stage after singer Carrie Underwood led a Twitter-fueled charge against Tennessee’s bill, which was later vetoed by Gov. Bill Haslam.