ACLU Iowa has filed a lawsuit challenging the sates new ag-trespass law. Filed Monday, the lawsuit claims the law is unconstitutional, like the 2012 law passed in Iowa that was struck down in a federal court in January. The new law creates a new crime, called “agricultural production facility trespass,” that makes it illegal for a person to gain access to an agricultural production facility through deception if the person intends to cause “economic harm or other injury” of the facility. ACLU Iowa claims the new law “aims to silence critics of worker rights abuses, animal cruelty, unsafe food safety practices, and environmental hazards in agricultural facilities.”
Supporters of the bill say the bill is not at all aimed at silencing whistleblowers. Iowa Pork Producers Association President Trent Thiele of Elma said at the bill’s signing, he wanted to know if any animals were mistreated in his facilities. Thiele continued by saying anything found to be substandard would not be tolerated at his farm. He said the hogs are an investment and he will do all he can to protect his investment.
Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds released a statement saying, “We are working with the Attorney General’s office to ensure this legislation that supports farmers is upheld. The Ag Trespass bill is designed to protect Iowa farmers from safety threats or biosecurity risks that untrained people on their property may cause. I am committed to protecting Iowa farmers and ensuring the safety and security of their livestock.”
In an interview with the Des Moines Register, Iowa Ag Secretary Mike Naig said the law “provides important protections that allow producers to raise their livestock without the fear of special interest groups with malicious intentions harming their animals or businesses.”