DES MOINES — The Iowa Attorney General’s Office is appealing the district court ruling that threw out Iowa’s Ag Protection Fraud Law, the so-called “ag gag” law.
Drew Mogler, public policy director for the Iowa Pork Producers Association, says his organization thinks the state has an excellent argument to protect farmers from imposters and intruders from animal rights groups. “When we look at some of the pressures our industry is facing with foreign animal diseases in other countries,” Mogler says, “I think we’re all aware of the issue of African swine fever moving around lots of countries in Asia, biosecurity and protecting biosecurity in this state is definitely in the state’s interest.”
Mogler says the state’s livestock producers need to be shielded from activists’ attacks, including the use of undercover videos on farms and ranches. “This law is designed to protect farmers from folks who are really driving an agenda to end meat production and meat consumption in this state and in this country,” Mogler says. “Farmers deserve that protection because they’re caring for their animals each and every day.”
Mogler says if the court of appeals rules in favor of the state, then the ag-gag law will be reinstated. “If this appeal gets overturned in the Eighth Circuit, then the Ag Protection Fraud Law is back on the books here in the state of Iowa,” he says, “and producers will have protection under that statute.”
Mogler says those who challenged the Iowa law originally claimed it was a violation of free speech rights, but he says that wasn’t the intention of the law, as it aimed to protect ag operations.