IOWA: Video cameras now lethal weapons: Republicans launch another attack on your rights


Marti Oakley, Contributing Writer

Activist Post

Iowa is following in Florida’s footsteps and working on passing a bill making it a criminal offense to film or photograph the abuse of animals on farms or in commercial CAFO operations. Apparently it is ok to abuse your animals, to leave them in fetid conditions, or to treat them inhumanely . . . Iowa just doesn’t want you documenting that abuse.

Nine House Democrats joined all of the Republicans present to pass the bill in a 66 to 27 vote on Iowa bill H.R. 589.

Turns out your video camera or camera are now considered lethal weapons…the stuff of terrorism!

In an effort to protect industrialized CAFO operations, and unscrupulous corporate growers, Iowa is standing up to those activist citizens who document the abhorrent conditions on industrialized farms and ranches and also in some privately owned operations, claiming this somehow interferes with, or tampers with the property of another. 

11A. “Record” means any printed, inscribed, visual, or audio information that is placed or stored on a tangible medium, and that may be accessed in a perceivable form, including but not limited to any paper or electronic format.

This means anything recorded on your film or camera that would adversely affect the profits of the person committing the abuse. This includes, video’s, stills, pictures captured on your cell phone or any other documentation.

d. Disrupt operations conducted at the animal facility, if the operations directly relate to agricultural production, animal maintenance, educational or scientific purposes, or veterinary care.

IF your pictures highlight the abuse, unsanitary conditions or what is referred to as educational or veterinary…..meaning drug testing, experiments, vivisection research, dissemination of disease for “research” or other inhumane activities under the guise of Education or scientific,……you too could be a unique terrorist with a camera. Animal maintenance is the catch-all phrase that covers abusive treatment, mistreatment, unsanitary conditions and lack of care.

And here is the coup de grace:

Sec. 9. NEW SECTION. 717A.2A Animal facility interference.

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 shelter, a boarding kennel, a commercial kennel, a pet shop, or a pound, all as defined in section 162.2.

Wouldn’t the more prudent thing to do here have been to enforce animal cruelty laws? How about all those fake food safety regulations? Would it be too much to ask that a higher, safer standard of animal care be enforced? Rather than criminalizing those who expose the corruption and abuse  that occurs routinely in these facilities.

This bill, like so many others we are seeing from the Republicans is a direct assault on your first amendment rights; your right to free speech. They’ve already attacked workers rights, your right to alternative healthcare and now they want to stop you from documenting the corruption and abuse in corporate farming and livestock operations.

This works out really well . . . this way, you are prevented from gathering the evidence, producing the evidence and forcing them to acknowledge the evidence. Perfect scenario: Plausible deniability.

YES! Corporate protectionism is alive and well in Iowa! And why wouldn’t it be? This is Tom Vilsack’s home turf; a man, who if he was any closer to Monsanto and other bio-pirates would most likely have to give them their own key to his place. Apparently they already have the keys to Iowa.

Bill HR 589

Roll Call on bill vote

Bill history

Marti Oakley is a political activist and former op-ed columnist for the St Cloud Times in Minnesota. She was a member of the Times Writer’s Group until she resigned in September of 07. She is neither Democrat nor Republican, since neither party is representative of the American people. She says what she thinks, means what she says, and is known for being outspoken. She is hopeful that the American public will wake up to what is happening to our beloved country . . . little of it is left.  Her website is The PPJ Gazette        

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