Idaho lawmakers have proposed a bill that would punish individuals for videotaping a farm’s operations after illegally entering the facilities. The legislation attempts to cut down on animal abuse activists who harm farms by trespassing or by defaming the business. Critics, however, are wary that the proposed law could negatively impact those attempting to demonstrate the abuse carried out by the state’s farms.
Some of these activists work as undercover farm employees, lying on job applications in order to gain positions at farms simply so they can obtain video footage of the abuses that occur there.
Idaho Sen. Jim Patrick, a cosponsor of the bill, claimed that this practice of infiltrating enemy lines has an ancient history.
“This is clear[ly] back in the sixth century B.C.,” Patrick said, according to Raw Story. "This is the way you combat your enemies."
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Patrick and the other supporters of the bill claim that they are simply attempting to stop this unfair practice from continuing. Animal rights activists, however, claim that the law would strip people of their right to expose the cruelty that occurs at farms.
Nathan Runkle, executive director of animal rights organization Mercy For Animals, explained that the law would directly cover up the abuses occurring at farms across Idaho.
“This legislation is a desperate attempt to sweep evidence of animal cruelty and sexual abuse under the rug,” Runkle said.
As the bill has progressed throughout Idaho’s Congress, various videos have surfaced depicting disturbing instances of animal abuse. The latest video to emerge depicts a farm employee mockingly discussing and fondling a cow’s vagina. Other videos have depicted cruel lashings and beatings of the animals.
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According to the Los Angeles Times, Iowa and Utah already have laws regarding filming animal abuse on farms. Many videos in other states have led to the arrests or punishment of farm employees and owners.
Below is the video depicting 25-year-old Jesus Garza sexually abusing a cow on an Idaho farm, a crime for which the man ultimately served 102 days in prison.
Warning – the video is extremely graphic.