Democrats: Undercover Farm Video Ban is Unconstitutional

By Adam Sullivan, Reporter

This file photo provided Sept. 1, 2009, by Mercy for Animals, shows a frame grab from a video made by an undercover member of the group of chicks corralled at Hy-Line North America's hatchery in Spencer, Iowa. (AP Photo/Mercy for Animals, File)

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By Kelli Sutterman

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - A bill banning people from filming secret video on Iowa farms will not pass in its current form, Democratic lawmakers said in Cedar Rapids on Saturday.

“Senators are meeting with the attorney general to make it constitutional,” Dvorsky said. “I don’t see how it’s constitutional at all but they’re going to see if — and this is really cynical — they can make it slightly constitutional.”

Dvorsky and nine other Linn County lawmakers spoke at a League of Women Voters legislative forum at St. Luke’s Hospital on Saturday. About 100 community members attended the event.

The Republican-controlled house passed the secret video ban but the bill has stalled in the Senate. They say animal rights activists should follow legal protocol if they suspect a farmer is committing animal abuse. Democrats and activists, though, say undercover filmmakers should be allowed to reveal inhumane conditions on factory farms.

“It’s just mind-boggling,” Sen. Rob Hogg, D-Cedar Rapids, said. “You’ve got someone committing animal abuse and we’re going to turn some person videotaping that into a felon while the person doing the abuse gets some misdemeanor.”

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