A new law in Iowa that prohibits fraudulent activity by animal-rights activists on livestock farms may serve as a template for other states.

According to Iowa State Senator Joe Seng, states such as Nebraska, Indiana, Ohio and Utah may be interested.

He said two years of work went into crafting the bill that was signed into law Friday by Gov. Terry Branstad. The bill achieved overwhelming bi-partisan support, passing the state senate by a 40-10 margin and the state house by a 69-28 margin.

The bill will stand constitutional muster if it goes before the Supreme Court, Seng told an Agri-Talk radio audience Monday morning. (Listen to audio clip above.)

Some have called it an “ag gag” bill, but Seng calls it “an agriculture protection bill.”

Mainly, it is designed to keep people from accessing agricultural production facilities under false pretenses. For instance, some people may lie on their job applications in order to get hired at a farm when their real intention is to put the farm in a negative light rather than do a job.  

Seng made these additional distinctions:

  • The bill does not prohibit people from photographing or videotaping animal abuse that may be occurring; it simply goes after the fraud aspect of people gaining entry to the farm under false pretenses. People who are on the farm under legitimate pretenses would not be affected.
  • By keeping people out who shouldn’t be there, the bill protects animals on the farms because (1) some of the people who come in to shoot undercover video may stage incidents of abuse and (2) they may knowingly or unknowingly spread infectious disease agents.

Seng is a veterinarian and former president of the Iowa Veterinary Medical Association.