Disputed 'Ag Gag Bill' Advances In Idaho Senate

Feb 14, 2014

Credit Mingerspice / Flickr Creative Commons

Dairy farmers enraged by spying animal-rights activists got a boost when senators agreed to intensify punishments for those who film their operations without permission.

Idaho's Senate voted 23-10 Friday to put people caught surreptitiously recording agricultural operations in jail and fine them $5,000.

The bill now goes to the House.

This measure stems from a 2012 incident at an Idaho dairy where activists captured images of workers caning, beating and stomping on cows.

Idaho's $2.5 billion milk industry argues the video was used by "agri-terrorists" not to curb abuse, but to harm the dairy — even after its owner fired workers and pursued animal-cruelty prosecution.

Foes including Republican Sen. Curt McKenzie, branded the measure too extreme, while Democrats compared activists to muckraker Upton Sinclair.

Utah has a similar "ag-gag law."