January 26, 2021

‘Ag Gag’ bills seek to silence whistleblowers

As one who regularly attends legislative forums, I can’t help but notice how long activists need to press legislators to address their concerns. When coronavirus concerns caused suspension of the legislature, we saw just how fast they could act when motivated.

In the final days of the legislative session elected officials slipped through a third version of Ag Gag 3.0 legislation. Ag Gag bills seek to silence whistleblowers from documenting conditions in industrial factory farms and slaughterhouses affecting working conditions, animal cruelty and food safety by criminalizing undercover investigations.

Such bills are usually defeated in legislatures or ruled unconstitutional. Iowa Republicans’ first Ag Gag legislation was ruled unconstitutional on first amendment grounds in January 2019. The Republicans’ second attempt at Ag Gag 2.0 is currently on hold in while a constitutional challenge works its way through the courts.

Not surprising, both the elected officials who championed and pushed this Ag Gag legislation are factory farm owners. It’s too bad they can’t muster the same ambition and motivation to address constituents’ concerns with a similar zeal.

For all of these reasons and more that’s why I support the ethics complain filed by Iowa CCI against both Rozenboom and Paustian. Enough is enough. It’s time to work for the people not personal or corporate interests.