As the 2011 Iowa legislative session is coming to an end, agribusiness interests are still desperately trying to get two of the most egregious bills written this session attached to the state budget. Already H.F. 589, known as the “Ag Gag” bill, would criminalize taking photos of the worst animal abuses on Iowa’s farms in an effort to hide factory farming’s worst practices, has made Iowa’s farmers look as if they have something to hide. In addition, S.F. 500, attempts to cover up industrial agriculture’s other problem, water pollution, by transferring authority to enforce clean water regulation to the Iowa Department of Agriculture, an agency that is not equipped to protect our drinking water.

Tell your Iowa Senator that enough is enough, vote NO to adding these bills to the state’s budget.

As a constituent, I urge you to vote NO on House File 589 and Senate File 500, and fight any and all attempts at getting the language from these bills included in the final budget bill.

House File 589 would criminalize the photographing of farms and allow the continued animal abuse in factory farms by hiding the worst abusers from potential discovery. This “ag gag” bill is a blatant attempt by the industrial meat industry to hide how they produce the food we consume from the public and get away with more abuses against animals.

Senate File 500 strips the Iowa Department of Natural Resources of its authority to regulate agriculture and industrial livestock facilities by transferring water quality monitoring and Clean Water Act enforcement of confined animal feeding operations to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, an agency that is ill equipped to enforce state and federal environmental laws.

As an Iowan, I’m appalled by giant agribusiness lobbyist’s efforts that continue to put profit over the safety and wellbeing of our state’s family farmers and environment. Any votes in favor of these bills will prove to the nation that Iowa’s largest factory farms have something to hide. It’s time to stand up for decency and common sense, please vote against efforts to attach H.F. 589 and S.F. 500 to the Iowa budget. As a regular voter, I will be watching this vote closely.