BOISE, Idaho – Idaho become the latest state to approve a law prohibiting undercover filming at agricultural operations. Gov. C.L. Otter signed the bill on Feb. 28.
The bill, which was promoted by the state's dairy industry, imposes fines of $5,000 and a year in jail to those caught taking hidden-camera videos agricultural operations, according to an Associated Press report. The bill came in response to an undercover video taken at Bettencourt Dairy by Mercy For Animals, a Los Angeles-based animal welfare group. The video, taken in 2013, depicted workers abusing dairy cows.
Mercy For Animals said it is exploring options for overturning the law.
“Undercover investigations by Mercy For Animals and other groups have led to landmark corporate animal welfare policy reforms, new and improved laws to protect farmed animals and the environment, felony convictions of animal abusers, increased consumer protection and food safety initiatives, and the closure of particularly corrupt facilities,” said Nathan Runkle, executive director, Mercy For Animals. “Without undercover investigations, there are oftentimes no effective watchdogs protecting animals from egregious cruelty in these facilities or the public from serious health violations.”