Utah just passed legislation that makes it illegal to seek employment under false pretenses, namely the intent to document the ongoings inside companies such as factory farms. At over one million pigs raised and slaughtered in CAFO farms in Utah, this law is designed (albeit not officially heralded as such) to keep animal rights activists and their cameras out of farms.
The Iowa bill shifted tactics—it criminalized posing as a job-seeker to get employment with the intent of documenting factory farm practices, a tactic that has been used to great effect by animal welfare groups.
While Iowa’s similar attempt simply tried to make it illegal to sneak cameras into factory farms, this one is a little more insidious since it addresses all elements of investigative reporting.
On one hand I agree with the farmers and ranchers and any other business – seeking employment under false pretenses is a bad thing. It costs the employer money, yields less than motivated employees, and results in more stringent, costly, and extensive hiring processes. On the other hand I am still not a fan of the secrecy under which food is produced in the United States. Instead of banning cameras on premises pass laws that make it mandatory for such operations to open their doors to the public and allow filming to credentialed reporters.
The CAFO and corn industries, closely linked in many ways to begin with, also benefit from vast governmental subsidies, support, and protection. And nothing that takes taxpayer money in tax cuts or subsidies should be allowed to operate away from those tax payers. The law is dangerous as it can now be used to simply impeach every whistleblower by claiming they had not sought employment under the correct pretenses. And, as so often, a $B industry easily beats a minimum wage manure mover in court, of only by outlasting them. Utah won’t be the last place to pass laws designed to protect inhumane and shady practices in those CAFO pens, it’s now time to act. Call your congresscritter and make sure the President knows. After all, he’s supposedly an advocate of healthy and non-industrial food.