Idaho outlaws undercover filming in farms and dairies

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter has signed a controversial bill banning people from secretly videotaping animal abuse inside Idaho farms and dairies.

Otter signed the so-called "ag gag" bill into law two days after the state House passed it. KTVB; reports the new law comes with punishments that include a $5,000 fine and up to a year in jail.

KBOI points out the bill was signed into law in response to an undercover video shot at a dairy in the town of Twin Falls back in 2012.

KHQ-TV adds the governor described it as dairy spying. The video from the Twin Falls Dairy allegedly caught workers beating, stomping on and sexually abusing cows.

The executive director of Mercy for Animals, an animal rights organization, said in a statement: "Governor Otter has failed Idaho and the American people." But the bill's sponsor told the Twin Falls Times-News: "It's only a small step but it was needed to protect our security on agricultural facilities. ... It was a good move." 

KIFI points out the founder of Greek yogurt maker Chobani had also voiced his opposition to the bill, calling for Otter to veto it.

Those who had opposed the bill said undercover filming was one of the only ways to catch animal abuse and try to put an end to it. (Via NPR)

But according to The Spokesman-Review, supporters saw it differently: "Idaho’s $2.5 billion dairy industry complained the group used its videos not to curb abuse, but to unfairly hurt ... business."

Idaho's passage comes after a series of similar bills were introduced in 11 states in 2013, though as Al Jazeera notes, none of those bills had been signed into law.

Otter's signature makes Idaho the fourth state to pass a so-called "ag gag" bill. The three states that already had the law in place were Iowa, Utah and Missouri.

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