The National Institute on Money in State Politics has found that almost 10 percent of the $8.9 million Gov. Terry Branstad raised in his most recent campaign came from the agriculture industry. And almost $8,000 — more than one-fourth of all the campaign money raised in 2010 by Sen. Joe Seng of Davenport, a self-proclaimed moderate Democrat who led discussion on the bill — came from the ag sector, according to the nonprofit, nonpartisan watchdog group. And almost $8,000 — more than one-fourth of all the campaign money raised in 2010 by Sen. Joe Seng of Davenport, a self-proclaimed moderate Democrat who led discussion on the bill — came from the ag sector, according to the nonprofit, nonpartisan watchdog group.
They protect guys like Billy Jo Gregg, a dairy worker who was convicted of six counts of animal cruelty in 2010 after being caught punching, kicking, and stabbing restrained cows and calves at an Ohio farm. They protect the North Carolina Department of Agriculture official who recently pled guilty to obstruction of justice after tipping a Butterball turkey plant off to a police investigation. The investigation, based on Mercy For Animals' undercover footage, also resulted in seven arrests for felony and misdemeanor animal cruelty. Perhaps most egregiously, the Ag Gag laws also protect the slaughterhouses that regularly send sick and dying animals into our food supply, and would prevent some of the biggest food safety recalls in U.S. history. (Source)
Iowa, the leading state for pork and egg production are no strangers to agriculture investigations in the past. The Iowa Select investigation in 2011, revealed egregious animal handling conditions and treatment of pigs. The state produces 19 million pigs a year confining the female sows in metal crates no larger than their own bodies. Undercover video by Mercy for Animals representatives revealed piglets having their tails cut off with dull scissors and castrated with out painkillers. Pigs were shown beaten, stepped on, living in filthy conditions - many with open sores and festering wounds.
Also leading the country in egg production with 54 million egg laying chickens, Mercy for Animals also led the undercover investigation in 2009 of Hy-Line Hatchery which hatches more than 300,000 chicks a day. Never before had the world seen undercover video of unwanted male chicks thrown into grinding machines while still alive. Male chicks are killed shortly after they hatch because they cannot produce eggs and grow too slowly to be efficiently raised for food.
And one of the latest investigations to air on national television 20/20 showed undercover video of Sparboe Farms in three states including Iowa where thousands upon thousands of chickens live in battery cages unable to even spread their wings. For their entire lives, after they have had their beaks and claws burned or cut off to prevent injury to other birds, all they do is lay eggs. The video showed unsanitary conditions, dead birds rotting, flies swarming, and the presence of rodents - all a preamble to salmonella, a dangerous and deadly health threat to humans. (Source)