On Thursday, Governor Kim Reynolds signed Senate File 519 into law. This is known as the Ag Trespass Bill. The bill is intended to replace what came to be known as the “Ag-Gag Law.” This 2012 law was recently stricken down in Federal Court.
Upon signing the bill into law, Governor Reynolds said the bill will help Iowa Farmers by criminalizing entry on to a farm under false pretenses.
The biggest argument against the bill comes from accusations the bill will limit free speech. Supporters say false representation is not protected by free speech.
Animal rights groups say the bill will also prevent the opportunity for “whistleblowers” to speak up about any mistreatment of animals. Iowa Pork Producers President Trent Thiele says this couldn’t be any further from the truth. Thiele says as producers they want to know if animals are being mistreated, and producers want to protect their investments. Any mistreatment of animals is not tolerated.
Groups like the Iowa ACLU have said farmers already have laws on the books to protect their animals and structures.
The bill passed on bipartisan support in both chambers of the Iowa Legislature.