HSUS official criticizes Iowa law

An official of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) calls Iowa’s new agricultural production facility fraud law “the backwards way of addressing the issue.”

That law makes it a crime to enter or gain employment in an agricultural operation under false pretense.

Joe Maxwell is HSUS’ director of rural development and outreach.

“Anytime you try to block whistleblower-type activity, I think you wind up with horrendous outcomes—and in this case, for the animals on the farms—it could be, as well, for the environment—or worker treatment,” Maxwell says.

“So I think it’s backwards for agriculture to think that’s the fix.  The fix is to get in there and work to resolve the issues that are within those practices.”

Maxwell, who raises hogs in Missouri, defends the undercover tactics employed by animal rights activists against larger livestock operations.

“I am very sensitive to the producers’ discussions about—the concerns about—having somebody in there that doesn’t understand what’s really happening in their operations,” he says.

“But these cases that we have seen—you know—are horrendous.  This is about true abuse to the animals—and those practices within those production models.”

Maxwell says such undercover tactics might not be necessary if the livestock industry would simply agree to have “dialogue” and discuss compromise on animal rights issues.  He points to the agreement reached between HSUS and the United Egg Producers as an example of how that can be done.

AUDIO: Joe Maxwell (6:07 MP3)


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