Mingerspice / Flickr Creative Commons

Dairy farmers enraged by spying animal-rights activists got a boost when senators agreed to intensify punishments for those who film their operations without permission.

Idaho's Senate voted 23-10 Friday to put people caught surreptitiously recording agricultural operations in jail and fine them $5,000.

The bill now goes to the House.

This measure stems from a 2012 incident at an Idaho dairy where activists captured images of workers caning, beating and stomping on cows.

Ambersky235 / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho's $2.5 billion dairy industry wants to put people who film their operations surreptitiously in jail for up to a year, a bid to block animal-rights groups from spying on farms in hopes of catching animal cruelty on tape.

Sen. Jim Patrick of Twin Falls Thursday introduced the measure on the heels of videos produced in 2012 by a group at one of Idaho's largest dairies documenting cows being beaten.

If the measure passes, anybody who enters an agricultural production facility without permission and records operations could face a year behind bars and a $5,000 fine.

UGA College of Ag / Flickr

An animal rights group wants Burger King to sever its ties with Idaho’s Bettencourt Dairies, and force the rest of its suppliers to implement strict animal welfare guidelines. 

The demands from the group Mercy for Animals came Wednesday as it released a disturbing video of animal abuse shot inside one of the Bettencourt dairies near Hansen, in Twin Falls County. 

The video shows workers stomping, kicking, punching and dragging cows.

UGA College of Ag / Flickr

The owner of a large Twin Falls County dairy operation says he fired five of his employees in August after seeing an undercover video made at a farm near Hansen.  Luis Bettencourt’s operation at Dry Creek Dairy was the apparent target of an animal rights group. 

The head of the Idaho Dairy Association, Bob Naerebout, says the video shows a cow with a chain around its neck being pulled by a tractor.  He says cows are kicked and jumped on in the recording.  It also shows workers using an electrical prod on the animals. 

Magic Valley Dairymen Eager For Expansion

May 3, 2012
Dave Young / Flickr

Idaho dairy farmers have been struggling with high feed costs and low milk prices for years.  The Times-News reports dairymen in the Magic Valley are optimistic about expanding and new producers in the area, namely Chobani.  Continue reading...

Dairy Farmers And Lumberjacks Make Worst Jobs List

Apr 11, 2012
Mingerspice / Flickr Creative Commons

The online job search site CareerCast has released its list of best and worst jobs for 2012.

Topping the worst list are two professions with a history in Idaho: dairy farmers and lumberjacks.

CareerCast ranked 200 jobs based on these factors: work environment, income, outlook, stress and physical demands.  Continue reading...