No lag for ‘ag gag’; Otter signs bill over objections

March 1, 2014 

Becomes law The legislation threatens people who secretly film animal abuse at Idaho’s agricultural facilities with jail and fines.

Tough penalties Violators face a year in jail and a $5,000 fine.

Backing Idaho industry Gov. Butch Otter said the measure promoted by the dairy industry “is about agriculture producers being secure in their property and their livelihood.”

Activist abuse? The bill came in response to videos released by the group Mercy for Animals showing workers at Bettencourt Dairy abusing cows in 2012. Idaho’s $2.5 billion dairy industry complained that the group used its videos not to curb abuse, but to hurt Bettencourt’s business.

Not cowed Otter’s signature came over the objections of game show host Bob Barker, thousands of people who signed petitions and the founder of Greek yogurt maker Chobani, which has a $450 million plant in Twin Falls. Hamdi Ulukaya urged a veto Friday, saying the law will limit transparency and conflicts with the company’s values.

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