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Idaho dairy farmers produce more milk and cheese than almost any state in the nation. Idaho is ranked third behind California and Wisconsin.

Disputed 'Ag Gag' Bill Advances In House Committee

Cows
Mouldfish
/
Flickr

Lawmakers voted to send a bill blocking activists from secretly filming agricultural operations in hopes of capturing abuse on camera forward to full House debate.

The 13-1 vote came Thursday after the House Agricultural Affairs Committee heard testimony from dozens of farmers and animal rights supporters.

The Senate has already backed the measure, 23-10.

The bill, backed by Idaho's dairy industry, would slap those who sneak onto farms or get access under false pretenses to film animal abuse with fines and up to a year in jail.

It comes in response to videos released by activists showing Idaho's Bettencourt Dairy workers beating, caning, stomping and sexually abusing cows at the dairy's Hansen facility.

The dairy industry maintains activists terrorized the business.

Activists, meanwhile, say dairies are trying to hide cruelty.