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Ag industry, lawmakers try to limit secret videos

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DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa farmers angered by repeated releases of secretly filmed videos claiming to show mistreatment of farm animals are backing legislation that would make it illegal for activists to produce and distribute such images.

Legislative committees in Iowa have approved a bill that would prohibit such recordings and punish people who take agriculture jobs just to record animals' treatment. Proposed penalties include up to five years in prison.

Votes by the full House and Senate haven't been set, but experts say Iowa could become the first state to approve such restrictions. Florida is considering similar legislation.

Supporters say people who witness abuse should report it and work through proper channels.

Animal rights groups say that only through awareness created by publicity can the nation work to protect farm animals.