Letter to the Editor

BY DI READERS | MARCH 20, 2012 6:30 AM

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Ag act needed

The Agriculture Protection Act, signed into law March 2 by Gov. Terry Branstad, is not about prohibiting undercover videos, as some want you to believe. The new law only attempts to protect farmers from people who seek and obtain employment under false pretenses with intent to commit an unauthorized act. Farmers, like any other business people, should have the right to know the true identity of job applicants.

Undercover videos have produced just one valid case of livestock abuse on an Iowa hog farm: PETA's video taken in 2008 at a Bayard farm. All other undercover videos have simply shown common animal-handling practices, which could be taken out of context by those unfamiliar with livestock production.

The Iowa Pork Producers Association strongly condemns any abuse of livestock and applauded the conviction of those involved in the Bayard video. The association recommends that any perceived abuse be reported immediately. The undercover investigator did not report the Bayard abuse: PETA released a video three months later, instead.

The pork industry has had quality-assurance programs and systems in place to ensure the health and safety of hogs for more than 20 years. Producers are subject to inspection and review by veterinarians and other third parties on a regular basis.

If you want to see what hog farmers are doing, then just ask. Pork producers aren't hiding anything. They're humanely raising quality pork. The new law is about ethics and honesty, and we don't think that is too much to ask.

Ron Birkenholz
Iowa Pork Producers Association

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