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Iowa Rejects Video Privacy Protection For Cows 256

Posted by timothy
from the emootional-distress dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "The Seattle Post Intelligencer reports that an effort to outlaw the undercover recording of animal abuse in livestock operations appears to have stalled in Iowa after previously failing in Minnesota, Florida and New York, with the pushback coming from citizens and activists complaining that the proposals were aimed at protecting an industry that doesn't exhibit enough concern for farm animal welfare. A bill introduced earlier this year to criminalize the actions of activists who make unauthorized hidden videos of animal abuse appeared to be headed for approval in the Iowa Legislature, with proposed penalties including fines of up to $7,500 and up to five years in prison. 'I feel it is wrong to absolutely lie to get a job to try to defame the employer,' says Iowa representative Annette Sweeney, a farmer and Republican legislator who sponsored the bill. But District Attorney James R. Horton, who filed animal cruelty charges against employees and the owner of a large-scale calf-raising farm, says he probably 'wouldn't have a case' if not for covert video provided by an animal protection group, and that 'we wouldn't have anything' in terms of evidence against the suspects in the beating deaths of dairy calves at E6 Cattle Co."
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Iowa Rejects Video Privacy Protection For Cows

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 16, 2011 @07:12PM (#36469324)

    I wonder though - if they have good video evidence. Is it really defamation ?
     

  • by Sponge Bath (413667) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @07:12PM (#36469326)
    Moo!
  • Only in the US... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pitchpipe (708843) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @07:14PM (#36469338)
    ... do we try to enact privacy laws for cows, all the while emasculating or eliminating entirely the privacy laws for humans. U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A! U...
  • by Volante3192 (953645) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @07:17PM (#36469350)

    If the company is adhering to the rules of the law, they wouldn't have to worry about being defamed by people who lied to be hired and then made covert video tapes.

    What about THAT side of the argument, Annette Sweeney, farmer and Republican legislator?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Reziac (43301) *

      The trouble is that these "animal protection" outfits (themselves large multinational corporations) aren't filming actual incidents, but rather, are *staging* incidents for the purpose of filming them. So yes, the "protectionists" are actually abusing animals to demonstrate abuse.

      In one case they got caught, having failed to edit out their own participation from the film presented as "evidence of abuse" in court.

      In the infamous "skinning raccoon dogs alive" videos (I believe made by PETA), workers can be he

      • The trouble is that these "animal protection" outfits (themselves large multinational corporations) aren't filming actual incidents, but rather, are *staging* incidents for the purpose of filming them. So yes, the "protectionists" are actually abusing animals to demonstrate abuse.

        I see. So, "animal protection" outfits are lying and defaming (which they can be sued under libel/slander laws) and committing animal abuse (which is already a criminal offense), so we need new laws to ban undercover videos (which

      • The trouble is that these "animal protection" outfits (themselves large multinational corporations) aren't filming actual incidents, but rather, are *staging* incidents for the purpose of filming them. So yes, the "protectionists" are actually abusing animals to demonstrate abuse.

        If that was indeed the case, then why do we need new laws? Why don't we use the existing animal protection laws to sue the "protectionists", and make sure that the outcome was made known to the public?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        How did this post get modded up so much? It's garbage.

        Let's see actual evidence of multiple accounts of this type of fraud.

        Some guy on the internet saying that most of the videos are staged is highly suspect and unlikely. As the saying goes: remarkable claims require remarkable evidence.

        Perhaps there have been some unscrupulous filming incidents, but it's unlikely very many are guilty of this, given all it takes is the worker to say 'well, they got me to stage this'. On the flip side, there are many account

      • by 1u3hr (530656) on Friday June 17, 2011 @05:47AM (#36472338)

        In one case they got caught, having failed to edit out their own participation from the film presented as "evidence of abuse" in court.

        ... says a guy on the Internet, without bothering to cite any names, dates or facts that can be checked. This wanker is modded up to "5 informative". Idiots everywhere.

        Clue: if this had really happened, there would be no problem prosecuting the fakers. They'd already be in jail. So name them. Or is this just something you saw on some blog and are passing on after embroidering it a little more?

    • by hedwards (940851)

      I think the problem is that even if they are complying with the law, it's not what a lot of people want to think about. Sort of like the hotdog factory, even if the company is in complete compliance with the relevant laws, they still don't want people to get grossed out by what goes on in there.

      • Applies to the whole meat industry. It doesn't matter how well they treat the animals - at the end, it's still about killing them and cutting them into little pieces. Modern sensibilities don't like that, but we do still like meat, so we've a lot of cultural effort going into seperating the animal from the product.
  • and I still don't understand it. Is the legislation stalled or about to be approved ?
  • Corporations... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ann O'Nymous-Coward (460094) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @07:20PM (#36469380)

    ... are the US's sacred cows.

  • by unity100 (970058) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @07:25PM (#36469420) Homepage Journal
    why is it that always republicans are behind the gravest, dastardliest shit, and they are behind less dastardly shit with a democrat close to their aisle ?

    a while ago, i heard that mccain and 30 other republican senators opposed a bill which would prevent companies from putting clauses into their contracts that would prevent female employees from suing the company if they were raped in company's employ overseas by company employees. that included john mccain, the presidential candidate. the justification was 'we think it is wrong to tell businesses how to do business'. so, its ok if a company legislates rape in its overseas operations by putting a clause in its contracts ?

    what the fuck is wrong with republicans ?
    • by Foobar of Borg (690622) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @07:45PM (#36469594)

      why is it that always republicans are behind the gravest, dastardliest shit, and they are behind less dastardly shit with a democrat close to their aisle ?

      a while ago, i heard that mccain and 30 other republican senators opposed a bill which would prevent companies from putting clauses into their contracts that would prevent female employees from suing the company if they were raped in company's employ overseas by company employees. that included john mccain, the presidential candidate. the justification was 'we think it is wrong to tell businesses how to do business'. so, its ok if a company legislates rape in its overseas operations by putting a clause in its contracts ?

      what the fuck is wrong with republicans ?

      Simple. They like gang rape. They are opposed to abortions.

      You work it out.

    • by s73v3r (963317) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {r3v37s}> on Thursday June 16, 2011 @07:50PM (#36469628)

      a while ago, i heard that mccain and 30 other republican senators opposed a bill which would prevent companies from putting clauses into their contracts that would prevent female employees from suing the company if they were raped in company's employ overseas by company employees. that included john mccain, the presidential candidate. the justification was 'we think it is wrong to tell businesses how to do business'. so, its ok if a company legislates rape in its overseas operations by putting a clause in its contracts ?

      It wasn't even a regulation. It was just a restriction placed on government agencies saying that they couldn't spend money on contractors who did this. It wasn't stopping the contractors from actually doing it if they really wanted to, it was just the government "voting with its wallet" that they didn't want to support companies that did.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by interkin3tic (1469267)

      why is it that always republicans are behind the gravest, dastardliest shit, and they are behind less dastardly shit with a democrat close to their aisle ?

      Democrats do some dastardly shit too. It depends a little on what you consider dastardly I guess. Some of my (sigh) inlaws would undoubtedly find this silly at worst, but will find the John Edwards (Democrat) affair to be the worst thing ever. Which one affects more people? The current abomination if it passes. Which one can those simpletons understand? The douche cheating on his dying wife. Which one will they complain about over christmas dinner? The democrat.

      Note to self, stock up on alchohol

      • by hedwards (940851)

        By and large you're correct, however, if you've been paying attention, Democratic politicians are more likely to break ranks than GOP politicians are. It's the natural consequence of being the big tent party. In the past the GOP was the big tent party and back then the GOP politicians were more likely to break ranks.

        The point is that it's more likely that it genuinely is a matter of one bad apple on the Democratic side of things right now than it is on the GOP side of things. And it's getting more and more

      • Well said! I don't really care for either party, but what drives me the craziest is watching Democrats talking about how evil the Republicans are and vice-versa.
      • Republicans are nice people generally(except the ones that are going to go on and on and on about how society is going to hell because one politician cheated on his dying wife). I might find them a bit naive...

        Republicans, Democrats, and anyone else who can define their entire ideology by a single word is "a bit naive!"

    • why is it that always republicans are behind the gravest, dastardliest shit, and they are behind less dastardly shit with a democrat close to their aisle ? what the fuck is wrong with republicans ?

      Don't blame just the Republicans. Blame the gutless Democrats who don't stand up to them too.

    • by Gryle (933382)
      No disrespect intended towards rape victims, but why is a company responsible for one of its employees raping another employee? The scum-sucking shitbag who committed the rape is responsible for his actions, not his employer Is it because it happens overseas? I'm not aware of any other crime which I'm allowed to sue my employer for if a coworker victimizes me with.
      • by shentino (1139071)

        For the same reason the farmer loses out when he lets the fox into the hen house.

      • by bugg (65930) *

        IANAL, but I believe your employer is obligated to provide you with a safe working environment, doubly so with regards to your membership in protected classes. If an employer permits a hostile working environment, especially one that unduly affects people who are members of protected classes (in this case, women) it is a form of illegal discrimination and you most certainly do have recourse.

        You can't hire the KKK, let them turn your workplace into a de facto Klan meeting, and let them intimidate or harm

  • This law would never have survived First Amendment scrutiny anyway. It not only prohibited taking the videos, but also prohibited displaying them on the news. But even if it was unconstitutional, it's great that it's dead now rather than later.
  • by Haedrian (1676506) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @07:33PM (#36469486)

    They don't need a lawsuit. All they need is to attach those special apple IR transmitters to the cows and there's no problem at all.

  • It may seem like cruelty however those images of lions and hyenas ripping apart still breathing baby gazelles in Africa is probably more cruel. I say we need to outlaw lions, tigers, and other apex predators.. or in fact why don't we ban or prohibit nature completely? Let's face it, a if animals were mistreated it couldn't have been worse than have your throat ripped open, or your intestines laid open by a sharp claw only to wander in shock as night falls and your herd leaves you deserted on your own.......

    • by hedwards (940851) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @07:42PM (#36469578)

      Doesn't matter. We don't have to rip apart still living creatures to feed ourselves, I think that alone justifies the notion that if we're going to eat meat that we at least have the decency to treat it with some modicum of respect. I don't think that torturing animals makes them healthier to eat or more delicious.

      • I agree, but the very act of butchering is mean. The final solution in Germany was supposed to be 'humane'... Just saying it is factory food production and occurs all the time, and really except in egregious examples of cruelty probably isn't as bad as PETA and others would have us believe.

        • by hedwards (940851)

          Butchering isn't mean, the animal is already dead at that point. Gas chambers are humane provided the correct gas is used. The problem with the final solution wasn't the gas chambers, it was the gas they were using and the reason for doing so. Not to mention the lead up to the gassing and all the other parts of it that were horribly wrong.

          But when it comes to meat, you're going to have to kill something if you're going to eat meat, the raising and killing is the portion where things are or are not humane. A

          • by lennier (44736)

            The problem with the final solution wasn't the gas chambers, it was the gas they were using and the reason for doing so

            And here I thought the problem was that they were killing sentient beings in the first place. Of course, if one followed that logic one might wonder about the ethics of airstrikes which kill civilians as 'collateral damage'.

            Apparently it's okay to start a machine which you know will kill civilians as long as you're doing it to assassinate leaders of a murderous political movement you don't like, but not okay to start another machine which you know will kill civilians in order to put political pressure on an

    • by guspasho (941623)

      Let me introduce you to something that may be foreign to you: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civilization [wikipedia.org]

      Your argument could be used to justify literally anything, from theft to gang rape to murder to genocide. That has to be worthy of some kind of award in horribleness. Congratulations.

    • by s73v3r (963317)

      Or you could stop being an idiot for a while. We're not barbarians, and we're not animals. Just because they may treat their prey in an inhumane manner doesn't mean that we should follow suit.

    • I think I read a comment like this further up the list. Lemme check.

      by Stregano (1285764) on Fri June 17, 9:19 (#36469364)

      Yup. I did. Hello all my meat working slashdot friends. I am kind of proud of Australia's stance on animal cruelty where once a video of slaughter house cruelty was exposed, we refused to send cows to that country until they got their act together. (Dispite loosing market share etc.)

    • By all means, I implore you to only kill your meat with your claws and teeth and eat it raw.

  • Journalism (Score:4, Insightful)

    by thorgil (455385) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @07:38PM (#36469556) Homepage

    Trying to outlaw this kind of undercover journalism, would in my view be to undermine democracy.In my humble view, this kind of legislation heads the road to FASCISM. There is a couple of other words for it, but this one fit well enough. /T

    • by iluvcapra (782887)

      Note that if this law had passed, and in other jurisdictions where these laws are in effect, undercover journalism that impacts the business of a farm can be prosecuted as terrorism [wikipedia.org], given the underlying illegality of the videotaping.

  • by Nethemas the Great (909900) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @07:47PM (#36469614)
    but not cops? Why can we gather evidence of animal abuse by videoing farmers, but we cannot gather evidence of human abuse by law enforcement?
  • This sounds a lot like the push to outlaw the recording of cops in order to prevent exposure of their brutality.

    Since it is currently inconvenient to create one set of laws for the privileged and another for the plebs, they are trying to deny the people access to anything that can be used to oppose them, including in the court of law.

  • and in florida (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nimbius (983462) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @08:11PM (#36469806) Homepage
    a law was proposed which would make it illegal to film or photograph a farm as well.
    The problem is customers have grown to appreciate the warm wool pulled over their eyes that depicts farms as wholesome, good, and kindhearted.
    A place where animals die of natural causes and everyone attends church on sundays.
    The average consumer doesnt understand high density/high intensity farming and agriculture and when prompted, generally does not care to learn about it.
    the educated consumer understands high density/high intensity farming and agriculture, but still readily retreats to his Pepperidge farm fantasy.
    The facts stand and yet we ignore them in the pursuit of ever larger quarter pounders and ever more delicious ribs.
    A factory farm is a hell mouth, strewn with feces six-inches deep and animals literally one foot in the grave.
    chickens are too bloated from hormones to stand, cows too drugged to care about the gaping abscess that was once an eye,
    pigs boiled alive in pursuit of shaving seconds from a cycle time on a machine
    and immigrant labor too illegal to question a single action or decision for fear of losing their american dream.

    once in a while, just every so often, an undercover PETA investigation might bring light to these torture engines.
    workers may find comfort in this as a means to perhaps ending the suffering they witness daily but even with this bills defeat, the fact remains:
    consumers blissfully ignorant will fill in the blanks and avoid the truth;
    effectively marching lockstep in the corporate machine of factory farming.

    and if you dont care to know where your brisket or tenderloin or chicken nugget comes from, you have no right to contest your cancer, low sperm count, obesity and heart disease.
    • You might have an agenda. Granted it's stupid to try and stop journalism.

    • I signed up to slashdot just so I could (possibly) promote you. Well said. Please mod this up. My only complaint is that PETA is a terrible corrupt organization in of itself. It's sad that we rely on them to go after other terrible corrupt organizations. The whole system is one big mess.
  • Does a cow have a Buddha nature?

  • ...if it's true? Pretty sure it isn't. Seems kind of like trying to manipulate and say that a tree falling in the woods *doesn't* make a sound, just because nobody heard it. We all know that's not the case.

  • It may be useful to read The Jungle by Upton Sinclair. It is a book about the horrors of the meatpacking industry back in the beginning of the 20th C.
    Things have changed quite a lot, but believing that change is comprehensive requires an expectation that actual conditions are frequently reported without feat of reprisal, and that appropriate action is then taken.
    I have a suspicion that corporate interests have conspired to make opaque the ingredients and methods used in fast food and even supermarket meats.

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