From The New York Times: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/07/05/banned-from-the-barn/?hp
By MARK BITTMAN
July 5, 2011
Iowa’s ag-gag law failed to pass before summer recess last week: a good thing. The ridiculous proposition, which died along with similar ones in Minnesota, Florida and New York, would have made it illegal to videotape or photograph in the agricultural facilities that house almost all of our chickens and pigs.
Sadly, a lack of idiocy is not the same thing as a presence of wisdom, and the demise of ag-gag won’t give us a clearer view of food production. We need more visibility, not less. But when I visited Iowa in May, I appealed to producers of eggs, chickens, pork and even cooking oil to let me visit their facilities. In general, I was ignored, politely refused or told something like “it’s a bad week.” (I made standing offers to return at any time; no one has taken me up on that.)
When a journalist can’t see how the food we eat is produced, you don’t need ag-gag laws. The system’s already gagged.
The videographers that have made it into closed barns have revealed that eggs are laid and chickens are born and raised in closed barns containing (literally) hundreds of thousands of birds; an outsider wouldn’t even know what those barns were. Pigs are housed cheek-to-jowl, by the many thousands, in what are called concentrated animal feeding operations, where feeding, watering and monitoring are largely mechanized. Pregnant sows are confined in small concrete cells. Iowa is industrial agriculture’s ground zero. But when it comes to producing animals, zero is pretty much what you’re going to see.
Continue reading: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/07/05/banned-from-the-barn/?hp