Senate & House Bills SF431 & HF589

Lawmakers in Iowa are looking to make it legal to discriminate against activists that seek work in animal-centric food industrial plants that border on (or are completely immersed in) abusing the system for profit. The bills are titled: SF 431 and HF 589.

Rep. Dan Muhlbauer (D-Manilla) backs the idea. ""We're just saying we can't allow this. You can't have people sneaking in giving false reports. There's no business around that would want that to happen to them," reports The Des Moines Register.  And he's right: sneaking in and giving false reports would be unfair; however, the term for such an act is called "slander" and it is already illegal. But working for a company to give true reports, well, if there's no wrongdoing, then what is the problem?

In a time where transparency is both a trend and a commodity, it is hard to imagine how sentiments like this make their way through the political system; moreover how a bill about it can even be written. More damage to CAFOs will be wrought with this kind of shady talk than anything PETA could have riled up.

Iowa is not alone in their fight to protect the abuse of animals in our industrial food systems.  Missouri already discriminates against activists, Florida is on its way. In today's politically charged food climate, one might suggest to reconsider buying any meats from these areas, unless you live there and can verify the source. And that's not bad advice, even if these bills didn't exist.

There's an ancient and sensible philosophy about eating healthy food. Not necessarily things outside of packages, obviously, as packaging is a 20th century invention, but food that is actually in good health when it is harvested. The animals in CAFO environments are typically not healthy. And their sicknesses are transferred to us by way of diseases and allergies.

Most companies have isolated incidents of animal cruelty. This is a fact of human animals working with non-human animals; it could be considered almost a psychological explanation when a person, given the taste of animalistic power over another living being, gets drunk with that power and abuses it. But most activists have learned that the isolated incidents are not the issue: it is the prolonged, systematic inhumane treatment of animals, and then feeding those sick animals to an unsuspecting public. This is the problem.

Instead of attempting to block grassroots investigations in the name of consumer awareness, maybe we should require companies to be truthful about their practices rather than shining over them with glossy labels depicting some other reality.
Photo credit: Maqi