Iowa Legislature: Criminalizing Compassion
A Meat and Dairy Industries Article from


Ruth Eisenbud
March 2011

[Ed. Note: In mid March 2011, the Iowa State Legislature passed legislation that will call for prison and a fine for anyone working undercover at a slaughter house to document excessive violence, abuse and torture. Proposed penalties include fines of up to $7,500 and up to five years in prison. Please also read Media Shining Light on Abuses.]

Those who eat the meat of other [living beings] in order to satisfy their own flesh, they are definitely murderers [themselves], since without a consumer [there can be] no killer.
- Acharya Hemacandra (12th c. Jain ascetic/scholar

All things breathing, all things existing, all living beings whatever, would not be slain or treated with violence, or insulted, or tortured or driven away. This is the pure unchanging eternal law, which the wise ones who know the world have proclaimed...
- Jain Acharanga Sutra

The following was sent to Rep. Annette Sweeney, republican representative in the IOWA state Legislature, regarding her effort to pass a law that will call for prison and a fine for anyone working undercover at a slaughter house to document excessive violence, abuse and torture. Sadly I just heard from a colleague, that the bill was passed by the Iowa house of representatives. It would still be helpful to write to Annette Sweeney and let her know that her cruelty is not appreciated.

Dear Representative Sweeney,

I am sending this to you well aware that you will not agree with or appreciate the point of view that animals are as worthy of the intrinsic right to their lives as humans. However, the following must be said, whether you have the compassion to understand it or not:

Those who kill the animals are also murderers, but because of the monotheistic religious notion of dominion, they do not view themselves as such. Rather they have persuaded themselves that they have the divine right to harm and slaughter animals for human profit, indulgence and advantage. As is the case with those who murder humans there is an effort to cover over the violence with protestations of innocence. Those who are responsible for the horrific mass assembly line killing of living beings, on some level understand that if society were to view their dirty deeds and cruel methods, there is a chance that their product would be less favorably received with a resultant fall in sales. They do not have the wisdom or compassion to understand that taking the life of any living being is an act of violence which results in pain and suffering for the victim. So while all slaughter ought to be abolished, these purveyors who inflict the brutal killing techniques of 'modern' agriculture on their victims, reminiscent of the worst genocides, seek to keep their vicious techniques from the public. This latest cover-up effort is occurring in IOWA, where the state legislature is expected to pass a bill criminalizing undercover videos documenting gross violations of the sanctity of life, of ALL living beings:

Iowa Considers Bill to Criminalize Undercover Videos at Farms In Iowa, lawmakers are considering a bill that would make it illegal for animal rights activists to go undercover and record video of farm animal abuse. Backed by Iowa’s agriculture industry, the bill would impose fines and prison sentences on anyone who seeks agricultural employment in order to capture footage. In recent years, undercover videos have revealed shocking conditions at a number of locations and have led to plant closures and meat recalls.
- Democracy Now

The underlying rational that allows for this carnage to exist and thrive is the biblical doctrine that man ranks higher in an arbitrary self-serving hierarchy: god/man/animal created to excuse violence to animals as justifiable and even righteous:

Proverbs 12:10 states, "The righteous person regards the life of his or her animal." In Judaism, one who is unnecessarily cruel to animals cannot be regarded as a righteous individual."
- Prof Richard Schwartz, founder Jewish Vegetarian Society

In other words: He who is of necessity cruel to animals can be regarded as a righteous individual.

So while you may justify her heartless position on biblical rhetoric, those with a more profound understanding of compassion, will view this position for what it is: the exercise of greed and power over the harmless and weak.
Some argue, that if the excesses of violence were toned down on the 'production' floor of the agri-business killing fields, the slaughter of animals would somehow be tolerable. They insist that if the cruelty could somehow be regulated, the killing could go on and the profits would not be jeopardized. The apparent fallacy with this view is two-fold. First it is always cruel to kill a sentient being who has the desire to survive and cherishes their life as we do ours, no matter how humanely they are dispatched. It is still murder to kill a human, even if it is done with the greatest care. The second flaw with regulation rather than abolition of abuse is that it is seldom contained and often escalates to obscene levels as documented by the undercover videos of those with the courage to infiltrate industries that have no limits on cruelty to satisfy their greed.

Once again we see, you can pass all the laws you want, make all the agreements you want with the animal torturers and murderers, drink as much champagne celebrating those "victories" as you want - animal exploitation industries never comply, always violate, always overturn...(and all that "meat" wasted that was on the menu at the Ohioans for Humane Farms benefit)...
- Bob Linden, GoVegan Radio

Who are the criminals?

Dominion with its mandate that man has the god-given right to harm and slaughter animals is cruel in and of itself. To further compound it with the abuses of mechanized factory farming and then attempt to cover up the horrific violence inflicted on harmless animals by criminalizing those who expose the evil begs the question: Who are the Criminals? Your attempt to criminalize compassion and assure that not even the tiniest measures of cruelty are spared the innocent victims has reduced violence and deceit to a new low. The decision to prosecute those who still have a conscience reveals the full depth of the failure of the Judeo/Christian tradition to extend compassion to animals. The following has provided you with a license to violate the sanctity of life for ALL beings and you have taken full advantage of these words to insure the most sadistic outcome.

Words that lead to violence:

Genesis 9:1-3: "God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them: 'Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. The fear and dread of you shall rest on every animal of the earth, and on every bird of the air, on everything that creeps on the ground, and on all the fish in the sea; into your hand they are delivered. Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you; and just as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything."

So, who then are the criminals: those who terrorize, abuse and slaughter harmless creatures, then seek to hide these dirty deeds or those who seek to protect the victims? You would do well to heed the words of a more compassionate view, which understands that all suffering inflicted on sentient beings is a sin, not a god-given right and privilege:

He who harms animals has not understood or renounced deeds of sin...He who understands the nature of sin against animals is called a Sage.
- Jain Acharanga Sutra

For there is nothing inaccessible for death. All beings are fond of life, hate pain, like pleasure, shun destruction, like life, long to live. To all life is dear.
- Jain Acharanga Sutra.

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