Governor Otter Signs Idaho's 'Ag-Gag' Bill

Feb 28, 2014

Cows
Credit Mouldfish / Flickr Creative Commons

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter signed a bill threatening people who secretly film animal abuse at Idaho's agricultural facilities with jail and fines.

Otter inked the new law Friday, two days after it cleared its final hurdle in the House.

Otter, a rancher, said the measure promoted by the dairy industry "is about agriculture producers being secure in their property and their livelihood."

The bill came in response to videos released by Los Angeles-based vegetarian and animal rights group Mercy for Animals showing workers at Bettencourt Dairy beating, stomping and sexually abusing cows in 2012.

Idaho's $2.5 billion dairy industry complained the group used its videos not to curb abuse, but to unfairly hurt Bettencourt's business.

Those caught surreptitiously filming agricultural operations face a year in jail and a $5,000 fine.