Pork Producers Association still considering appeal of ‘ag gag’ law ruling

DES MOINES — The public policy director for the Iowa Pork Producers Association says they’re evaluating a possible appeal of a federal court ruling that overturned the state’s so-called “ag gag” law.

Drew Mogler says it’s hard to know how much impact the measure really had in discouraging undercover investigations of livestock facilities, although there have been fewer of them since it was signed into law by former Governor Terry Branstad in 2012. “So, you could give credit to this legislation for that,” Mogler said.

But Mogler also believes producers have also become more vigilant when it comes to hiring employees on their farms. “Making sure that the folks they’ve got providing care and comfort for the animals are there with the best intentions, want to be working with animals, and working productively on their farm,” Mogler said. A federal court this month ruled Iowa’s “ag gag” law unconstitutional.

The law set up a penalty for people who get a job on a farm or in a livestock confinement in order to go undercover to release details of the operation or free the animals. Federal courts have struck down similar laws in Idaho, Utah and Wyoming.

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