Around the country, farming states are passing "ag-gag" laws that punish activists who record and share horrific scenes from inside confined feeding operations and slaughterhouses. The reason is clear: when people get a good look at these scenes, they don't like them.
Whether an animal welfare law will be effective often turns on whether it gets adequately funded. Having legislators seek that funding is crucial, especially when there are as many strong competing budget pressures as there are now.
When our food is at risk we are all at risk. Over the last thirty years, we have witnessed a massive consolidation of our food system, leading to the loss of millions of family farmers, the destruction of soil fertility, the pollution of our water, and health epidemics.
So far, 2012 is bringing bad news for people who don't want "free antibiotics" in their food. Antibiotics are routinely given to livestock on factory farms to make them gain weight with less feed and keep them from getting sick in confinement conditions.
Massive amounts of medicine continue to circulate through our food system. The issue of antibiotic resistance isn't about medicines or animals, but about the relationship between people and what we eat.
The question now for Iowa Democrats is, will they blindly stand by their man or will they express their dissatisfaction with Obama's complete failure to follow through on what he promised us during his first tour through the Iowa countryside?