19th Happiest State, Saddest for Animals?

March 17 2011

According to results of a year-long survey throughout the U.S. in 2010, the state of Iowa ranks 19th out of 50 states plus the District of Columbia on Gallup's Well-Being Index -- just below the top third of the 51 regions (~37%).

This index includes the percent of each state's population that eats produce and exercises frequently. Within a few days of Gallup's March 6, 2011 report, on March 14, both Manufacturing.net and IMPO reported that the Iowa House and Senate approved a bill that would punish animal rights activists who secretly film videos claiming to show mistreatment of farm animals.

On April 22, 2010 I wrote about my reaction to the documentary Food, Inc. saying "I also firmly believe that each of us must take responsibility to make ourselves aware of harmful effects that our own and our collective greed (or even merely serving our own convenience) has on people, animals, plants or the environment. "

I believe this latest move, by state legislators and supported by the agricultural industry, epitomizes the "collective greed" I wrote about not quite a year ago. The sponsor of the bill says she "believes it will encourage people to report abuses."

Oh, really?

Manufacturing.net writes that "supporters of the Iowa measure said people should report wrongs they see and work through proper channels to prevent them." Sure, I can see a whistleblower worker reporting wrongs and working through proper channels. Bye bye job security. 

IMPO writes: "Proposed penalties include fines of up to $7,500 and up to five years in prison" for secretly filming and distributing images claiming to show the mistreatment of farm animals.

The operative word here is "secretly." Well, how else? I can't imagine a business owner -- that shocks cows, beats pigs and grinds up alive male chicks because their economic value is low -- giving someone the go-ahead to film those operations.

I don't have the answer to this sad and, to me, immoral state of affairs, just as I didn't about the Food, Inc. revelations. But I was jolted by the incongruity of Iowa's rankings in Gallup's "Well-Being" (for people, at least) poll. What say you?

Category: Now You Know
Filed under: Animals; Government/Legislation, Food/Nutrition