Iowa is one of those states that is proud of being a breadbasket supplier of meat to the entire country. One of those states where shadowy buildings are erected miles away from any civilization. Guard towers and even armed security guards man them 24 hours a day. Typically a wall surrounds the entire facility and on the way in you are frisked to no end. These are the places where blood runs deep and poorly paid migrant workers go about their macabre job of slicing and dicing whole animals for human consumption.
The companies that own these palaces of horror do everything possible to not allow access by outsiders as to what's actually happening inside those doors. The corporate owners are powerful indeed as they provide jobs for thousands of people, thus the political power at the statehouse. Many animal rights organizations have battled these companies in a war for the soul of our humanity. Invariably the companies turn to the legislature to make their deeds more secretive, usually by making access to their premises a crime punishable by jailtime.
Iowa's legislature has been most accommodating in this regard, having passed four so called "ag-gag" laws. The first two were thrown out by the courts on freedom of speech grounds. The third law was written in such a way that it did not impede on constitutional rights, thus it's currently in force. The fourth law was sued but upheld by the local appellate division.
Into this malaise stepped Crasco native Matt Johnson, an animal lover and activist. He, under false identity, penetrated the walls of Iowa Select Farms, a company specializing in pork products. What Matt had in hand was a video he shot of hundreds of pigs being killed by asphyxiation during the early days of the pandemic. With food distribution warehouses shut down due to infections, the company made the decision to kill all of its pigs by shutting off the ventilation allowing the hall to heat to unimaginable degrees, causing the poor pigs to eventually die of heat exhaustion.
Was the governing community grateful to Johnson for exposing this heinous act? Of course not. He was charged with multiple criminal counts under the aforementioned two active laws. Johnson being a man of great moral aptitude fought them all the way. Seeing the pointlessness of their actions, the prosecutors in the case eventually dropped all the charges against Johnson.
What's going on here? Hundreds of animals are killed in a horrid way by a U.S. corporation and the one person that proves this deed happened is charged with a crime. How is it possible that in a free country telling the truth can land you in a jail cell? Remember the company never denied having done the evil deed. The so-called 'pass' given to them in law was the fact that they were a "private corporation" as though that label gave them a right to act inhuman. What would we have said if Hitler had set up a "private corporation" with the task of getting rid of the Jews?
Where it gets dicey is that it is legal to kill animals for any reason. In most states it is completely legal for an owner to take his dog to the back garden and put two bullets into its brain. Thus the court reasons "it was perfectly fine for the company to kill hundreds of pigs by asphyxiating them, and you are at fault for exposing their actions". Upside down thinking in an upside down world.
We thank Mr. Johnson for his courage and perseverance! It is humans like him that pull the rest of us up from the sloth we slumber in.