Under legislation being pushed through the Iowa Legislature, those who conduct undercover investigations into animal care would risk misdemeanor or felony charges, heavy fines and jail time.

The Winona Daily News reported that lawmakers in Iowa are on the verge of passing the legislation, which would ban the covert filming of animal farms in the state.

Farmers have complained that animal rights activists who videotape livestock being raised and slaughtered are trying to hurt their industry.

"They want to hurt an important part of our economy," Iowa Sen. Tom Rielly (D) said. "These people don't want us to have eggs. They don't want people to eat meat."

Republican political pundit Mary Matalin has denounced the legislation in a letter to House Majority Leader Linda Upmeyer (R), Speaker of the Iowa House Kraig Paulsen (R) and Rep. Annette Sweeney (R).

"I’m sorry to hear that House File 589, which would criminalize filming on farms, is still getting pushed along in Iowa," she said. "Lawmakers and consumers from across the political spectrum have found that while promoting agriculture is of prime importance, so is making sure that workers at farms and slaughterhouses adhere to anti-cruelty laws."

Gov. Terry Branstad said he would wait until seeing the final version of the bill before voicing his support, but agreed that undercover filming was a problem.

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