Monday, March 31, 2014

Opposition to modification of hog farm permit voiced

The latest chapter in the dustup over an industrial hog farm in Newton County, Arkansas (covered in prior posts here, here and here) is an application the farm has filed seeking modification of the permit the state granted for it to begin operation in 2013.  Specifically, C & H Hog Farm now seeks to use a truck rather than the previously approved sprinkler system to spread manure on three fields.

On March 24, the Arkansas Dept. of Environmental Quality held a public meeting to consider the application for permit modification.  Sixty-five people attended the meeting at the Jasper School, and most, it seems, advocated re-opening the entire permitting process for the farm.  Sixteen attendees took the five minutes allocated to each to make statements.  The Newton County Times reported that "[f]ewer than half of those who made comments said they reside in Newton County." (That seems to be a nod to the issue documented here.) Among those speaking were Jerry Masters, executive vice president of the Arkansas Pork Producers Association and John Bailey, Permits Branch Manger, Water Division, who explained that the farm was eligible for financial and technical assistance to install the spraying system through the Natural Resources Conservation Service's Environmental Program.  Gordon Watkins, a Newton County organic farmer associated with the Buffalo River Watershed Alliance advocated that the three fields at issue should be included in a University of Arkansas monitoring study, asserting that if the fields' owners are unwilling to participate in the study, their fields should "not be part of the permit's nutrient management plan."

The Newton County Times summarizes the concerns voiced, none of which appears new:
the absence of monitoring noxious air quality needed to protect area residents and students attending Mt. Judea School; that phosphorous Index numbers for the fields' soils are not public reported for analysis; manure runoff will pollute Big Creek a tributary to the Buffalo National River; spread of disease from pig manure and impact on local health; need for closer monitoring of area ground water; use of a truck on the fields would compact their soil creating greater amounts and higher concentration of runoff; polluted water will travel quickly and spread through the karst geological formation of the area contaminating other water sources; detrimental impact on tourism and other businesses in the Buffalo River region.  
Two speakers articulated support for the hog farm, noting that they believed the farm was already exceeding permit requirements "to ensure that the farm would not jeopardize Big Creek or the Buffalo River."

ADEQ Director Teresa Marks facilitated the hearing, which lasted only one hour and ten minutes.

C & H is the only facilitate in Arkansas to operate under the CAFO general permit.  It's waste treatment system consists of in-house shallow pits with a 760,000 gallon capacity; a settling basin with a capacity of 831,000 gallons; and a holding pond with a 1.9 million gallon capacity.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Spatial equality new "coin of the realm" in state voter laws

In "New G.O.P. Bid to Limit Voting in Swing States," Steven Yaccino and Lizette Alvarez report from Cincinnati, Ohio, on that state's recent efforts to regulate voting, presumably to deter those who vote Democratic.  In all, nine states, including North Carolina, Wisconsin, and Ohio have passed laws since the beginning of 2013.  Many are voter ID laws, which may require a passport to birth certificate to register as a voter.  I have written about the spatial burdens associated with these here.  Now, however, Republicans have a new strategy:
Republicans in these states shifted their strategy away from concerns over fraud, which have proved largely unfounded, to a new rationale that suggests fairness: uniformity. 
Republican lawmakers and election officials argue that to avoid voter confusion and litigation urban and rural counties should follow the same rules. 
In Ohio, the hodgepodge of rules raised concerns in both parties. Some urban counties had large enough budgets to send out absentee ballot applications and some smaller rural ones did not, election board directors said. Early voting hours also varied.
So the result is a sort of "race to the bottom," or "lowest common denominator" standard.  If a practice is all a rural county can afford, then no county is permitted to do better or make voting easier.

It is ironic that the challenges and limits rural voters face should be held up as the new and appropriate norm when, regarding most rights or services, rural residents are told "tough luck" when their access falls short of that enjoyed by their urban counterparts.  Disingenuous on the part of the GOP, if you ask me.  

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Hog castration catches rural voters' attention

NPR reports today on an ad run by Joni Ernest--"Conservative Joni Ernst," that is--a candidate for the Republication nomination for the U.S. Senate seat from Iowa.  In he ad, Ernst discusses her past work in hog castration and suggests that this experience could be relevant if Iowa sends to her to Washington.  Needless to say, the ad is attention getting, and Brian Donahue, a strategist with Craft Media, explains that the "emotional reverberation" is what sends such ads viral:  
That causes what we call 'the Buzzfeed effect,' … It compels you to do more than just shape an opinion. It compels you to share it too. Which is why so many people are seeing an ad like this. 
It did something different and it was so unpredictable.  … We had a female candidate running for office and she's talking about castration and relates it to members of Congress, which is pretty unbelievable stuff. But beyond the race she's running, people are sharing it online and that's the effect you want to create. And that's what emotionally, cutting-edge media does. It takes on its own life.
Lori Raad of Something Else Strategies is the consultant behind the ad.  Raad says she knew the c-word was "going to get noticed."
Of course, our goal was for people to watch long enough to learn about Joni Ernst.  I wouldn't have guessed that people would've linked to it to this extent, although you always hope. 
* * *
That word coming out of my mouth? I might have made a funny face when I said that word.  It was very natural for her. She grew up doing that. It was not a hard sell.
Frank James, reporting for NPR, explains:  
The Ernst ad works, especially in Iowa, because the state leads the nation in hog production. Also, hog neutering is an authentic part of her biography, reflected by how matter-of-factly she delivers the line. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Rural, in the Washington state landslide

I see rural themes running throughout the coverage of the catastrophic landslide north of Seattle, in Oso,  this week.  Those themes include community, lack of anonymity, and--today--a focus on the loggers who are working on the rescue and recovery effort as volunteers.  Here's an excerpt from a story by Ian Lovett just posted to the New York Times:  
Two days after a giant landslide engulfed the small community of Oso and rescue workers struggled to find either survivors or victims amid the sea of muck, a group of volunteers — many of them loggers — drove along back roads and trails on Monday to reach the site. They immediately began to dig, looking for their neighbors and, in some cases, friends and relatives.
Other stories tell of local volunteers going in, whether authorized or not.  This one, featuring the 27-year-old state trooper who was first on the scene and helped rescue a baby and his mother, is especially poignant.  He grew up in nearby Marysville and has often patrolled this area during his 7-year career as a trooper.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Are red (rural? poor?) states the makers or the takers?

Here's the latest analysis from Ben Hallman on the Huffington Post. The data comes from Wallet Hub, a consumer finance site that "crunched federal tax and spending data and then ranked states from most to least dependent on Uncle Sam."  The results are based on three metrics:  taxes pad as compared to federal spending per capita, the percentage of state revenues coming from federal funds, and the number of federal employees per capita, with the first two categories being weighted more heavily than the last.  Here's an excerpt from the story that highlights some elements of the cool color-coded map.
The "takingest" states, in a tie, are Mississippi and New Mexico, according to the analysis. Both states take about $3 in federal spending for every $1 contributed in taxes. Both states are highly dependent on federal funding as a percentage of state revenue. And New Mexico, especially, has lots of federal workers. 
The state with the lowest return on taxpayer investment is South Carolina. Its citizens pay $1 in taxes per capita for every $7.87 in federal funding received. 
The two states that come closest to breaking even are Washington and Georgia. These states get back $1.05 for every $1 in taxes paid.
Hallman observes the rough correspondence between "taking" states and high poverty levels, listing  Mississippi and Alabama as examples.  He also notes how the Tea Party is changing this, making some "taking-est" states less so of late.  By way of example, Hallman notes that 7 of the 10 states with the biggest "dependency gap" are not expanding Medicaid, as they could do with federal monies under the Affordable Care Acts.  Those seven are Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Maine, Montana, South Dakota and Tennessee.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Chevron throws a bone--I mean a pizza--to residents of Appalachian town

Katie Colaneri reports today for NPR about the giant corporation's distribution of coupons for free pizza to residents of Bobtown, Pennsylvania, population 757, in the wake of an explosion at one of its nearby natural gas wells.  The cause of the February explosion, which killed 27-year-old Ian McKee, is still unknown. While outsiders have tended to view Chevron's response as scandalous in its inadequacy--Stephen Colbert quipped that Chevron's gesture was "literally the least they could possibly do"--not all residents see it that way.  Joann Herrington, for example, stated:  
I just thought that they was just showing their appreciation of us standing by them with all the trucking, with all the traffic, with all the noise and stuff."
Colaneri explains the "complicated" relationship between companies and communities in Appalachia, noting that Bobtown has long been a company town--there was coal before there was natural gas--and that many residents take pride in that, "savor[ing] the rituals of a close-knit company town," even after coal's heyday.  Colaneri continues:
Food is a big part of Bobtown tradition, including the rites of grief: Someone dies, and neighbors bring dinner to the family.
On the food link, Colaneri quotes Bonnie Gansor, a beauty salon owner in Bobtown:
Maybe that's kind of why everybody was so surprised at the reaction to the pizza thing, because we're just used to that. If something happens, you give people food. I never looked at it as a negative thing, you know?
Julieann Wozniak, on the other hand, thinks Chevron should do more.
Like we'd be satisfied with pizza coupons for God's sakes.
She also expressed disappointment that media furor over the pizza offer has detracted attention from the need for greater safety precaution--and from one young man's death.  Invoking the legacy of her grandfather, who was blacklisted for organizing miners, Wozniak states:  
I think an equal attention should be paid to workers' safety. I mean, that was what union organizing was about back in my grandfather's day — assuring that workers didn't die at a prodigious rate in the mines — and here we have this new industry and it's the same old, same old.
The story reminds me of the crushingly low expectations that poor, rural people often have for their lives.  

Monday, March 24, 2014

Smoking as a poor (and rural) people's problem

See Sabrina Tavernise and Robert Gebeloff's story in today's New York Times.  The dateline is Manchester, Kentucky, population 1,255, and the headline is, "Smoking Proves Hard to Shake Among the Poor."  While the headlines leads with "poor," the story also gives quite a bit of attention to the geography angle on the smoking problem.  Here's an excerpt reporting on this new study available on Population Health Metrics:  
The new study, which evaluated federal survey data from 1996 to 2012 to produce smoking rates by county, offered a rare glimpse beneath the surface of state-level data. It found that affluent counties across the nation have experienced the biggest, and fastest, declines in smoking rates, while progress in the poorest ones has stagnated. The findings are particularly stark for women: About half of all high-income counties showed significant declines in the smoking rate for women, but only 4 percent of poor counties did, the analysis found. 
This growing gap in smoking rates between rich and poor is helping drive inequality in health outcomes, experts say, with, for example, white women on the lowest rungs of the economic ladder now living shorter lives. 
“Smoking is leaving these fancy places, these big urban areas,” said Ali H. Mokdad, a researcher at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation and an author of the study. “But it has remained in these poor and rural areas. They are getting left behind.”
The study found that among adults living in "deep poverty in the South and Midwest, the smoking rate has not changed" since 1977, even as it has fallen 27% on average for adults across the United States.

Manchester is the county seat of Clay County, Kentucky, where just 7% of residents have a college degree and the poverty rate is twice the national average.  Manchester banned smoking in restaurants, stores and bars in 2012.  The local hospital runs a smoking cessation program with free nicotine patches and so forth to low-income residents.

From rural to urban in Rwanda

That is a theme of this piece by Nicholas Kulish in the New York Times, Rwanda Reaches for New Economic Model.  The lede follows:
On the 12th floor of the Kigali City Tower, a modern blue-glass office building on the side of one of this capital’s famous hills, the latest endeavor in the effort to transform a tiny rural economy into a financial and high-tech hub is trying to find its footing.
* * * 
Beneath the heights of Kigali City Tower, the rusty corrugated iron roofs on the ramshackle one- and two-story buildings below testify to the challenge of Rwanda’s goal: becoming a middle-income country. Beyond the city limits, an estimated 90 percent of the population is still employed in the country’s terraced green hills, growing bananas, sorghum, potatoes and other crops, much of it subsistence farming.
I was in Rwanda working as a gender consultant for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in the fall of 1996.  The photo shown is from that time.  It was taken near Ruhengeri, as I hiked up to see the mountain gorillas one week-end.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

WSJ takes up cultural wars, politics, and the rural-urban divide

The Wall Street Journal featured a story yesterday titled "City vs. Country: How Where We Live Deepens the Nation's Political Divide Differences Between Rural and Urban America Are Underappreciated Factor in Political Split."  The dateline is El Dorado Springs, Missouri, population 3,593, in the western part of the state and a few hours from Jackson County, the state's second most populous and home of Kansas City.  Laura Meckler and Dante Chinni use this geographic juxtaposition to contrast two contiguous U.S. Congressional districts, one essentially rural and the other urban.  Here's a quote that sums up their story: 
There have always been differences between rural and urban America, but they have grown vast and deep, and now are an underappreciated factor in dividing the U.S. political system, say politicians and academicians. 
Polling, consumer data and demographic profiles paint a picture of two Americas—not just with differing proclivities but different life experiences. People in cities are more likely to be tethered to a smartphone, buy a foreign-made car and read a fashion magazine. Those in small towns are more likely to go to church, own a gun, support the military and value community ties. 
In many ways, the split between red Republican regions and blue Democratic ones—and their opposing views about the role of government—is an extension of the cultural divide between rural Americans and those living in cities and suburbs. 
As Democrats have come to dominate U.S. cities, it is Republican strength in rural areas that allows the party to hold control of the House and remain competitive in presidential elections.
Consumer choices illustrate many of the contrasts between rural and urban that are offered in the story.  In El Dorado Springs, for example, coffee costs $.90 at the diner, and it includes free refills.  Starbucks in Kansas City charges twice that for its basic product.  The authors also refer to David Wasserman's Whole Foods Index, which tracks how people vote based on where they live.  Does the county have a Whole Foods or does it have a Cracker Barrel?  You can guess which consumer outlet suggests which voting block/party allegiance.  
In 1992, Bill Clinton won 60% of the Whole Foods counties and 40% of the Cracker Barrel counties, a 20-point difference. That gap that has widened every year since, and in 2012, Mr. Obama won 77% of Whole Foods counties and 29% of Cracker Barrel Counties, a 48-point difference.
Meckler and Chinni quote Wasserman:  
Politics hangs on culture and lifestyle more than policy.
I have written here about the culture wars in relation to the rural-urban axis. 

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Rural vs. urban, ag vs. "growth" tension in California's Great Valley

Patricia Leigh Brown reports today from Wood Colony, an unincorporated place outside Modesto California.  The headline is "A Timeless California Enclave Fears a City's Sway," and Brown tells of Wood Colony's resistance to possible annexation by the City of Modesto, which is looking for "shovel ready" land near transportation thoroughfares, which will be attractive to business.  Unemployment in the area is 13%.  Wood Colony is contiguous to Modesto, to the northwest, along Hwy 99.

Wood Colony's resistance seems linked to its religion, livelihood, and culture.  The place was settled in the early 1900s by a group known as the Old German Baptist Brethren, an Anabaptist group related to the Amish and Mennonites.  Many who live here are "fourth- and fifth-generation farmers who tend an unspoiled landscape of bee boxes and walnut and almond orchards."  They have their own school.

Brown writes of the community's resistance, including appearances at contentious city council meetings.
In a place where “Oh, gracious!” is a common expletive, “Pray for Rain” signs along the district’s two-lane byways have been joined by ones urging citizens to “Keep Wood Colony Green” and “Save Wood Colony: Almonds, Not Asphalt.”
I also like these quotes which speak so richly to attachment to place and the sense of community that residents of Wood Colony feel.  Alan Cover, who has almond and walnut orchards and who raises prize lambs, says:
My granddaughter still lives in the ranch purchased by my great-grandfather. That’s a thread that runs through this community.
Other quotes speak to community cohesion and lack of anonymity.
Longtime residents like Paul Wenger, the president of the California Farm Bureau Federation, who operates the Wood Colony Nut Company with his sons, said the emphasis on “jobs, jobs, jobs” did not acknowledge almonds and walnuts as two of the state’s most lucrative crops, buoyed by global demand and endorsed as “superfood” by Dr. Mehmet Oz. (Modesto’s AAA Minor League Baseball team is called the Nuts.)
Mr. Wenger's farm, like others in Wood Colony, is family run.  He comments:  
For crying out loud, they talk about sustainability and putting people back to work.  That’s agriculture.
Lowell H. Beachler, a local historian, admonishes those concerned about Wood Colony's future to "consider the tree," a reference to a 110-year-old tree in the center of Wood Colony.  Journalist Brown describes it as "a tabernacle, a living testament to the district’s deep roots, fertile soil and unshakable resolve."

Brown quotes Beachler regarding the tree, 
I think it’s here for a reason.  God is protecting that tree as a center of the community.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

How dozens of intellectually disabled men were abused for decades, unnoticed, in rural Iowa

Dan Barry's lengthy feature, "The Boys in the Bunkhouse:  Servitude, Abuse and Redemption in a Tiny Farm Town" appears in today's New York Times.   It recounts the details of how a few dozen men with intellectual disabilities came to be living in Atalissa, Iowa (population 311) and working in a turkey processing plant eight miles away in West Liberty, population 3,736.  This earlier post describes what happened in 2009, when the squalor in which the men were living in an old schoolhouse was discovered.  A subsequent lawsuit resulted in a record $240 million judgement against the men's employer, Henry's Turkey Service, a Texas-based company that had installed the men in an abandoned schoolhouse turned dormitory in 1974, and who employed their "caretaker."  The award was subsequently reduced to $ 1.3 million, representing two years of back wages.  

One of the interesting aspects of this story, as I wrote in my earlier post, is how the men came to be overlooked in the context of a small town.  Indeed, Barry's story revealed that they were frequent patrons of the local mini-mart (since closed, without the $65/month in earnings/pocket money that the men had to spend there) and a bar or two, and that many of them also attended the local Lutheran church and were fixtures in the annual parade.  This segment describes the community's reaction after the men were whisked away by social workers, after a relative of one of the men learned he had only $80 in retirement savings after decades of working at the plant.  That relative called a reporter at the Des Moines Register, and the place was soon swarming with media and state officials.  The men were immediately transported to a Motel Six in nearby Muscatine.
The people of Atalissa could not believe that the boys had been spirited away overnight. “Like someone swooping in and taking your children for reasons you don’t know,” says Lynn Thiede, the former pastor at the Zion Lutheran Church. 
They were especially upset that their requests to contact their longtime neighbors were being denied. But many of the men were suffering from post-traumatic stress, Ms. Seehase says. “We were trying to give them a break from that life.” 
The Iowa news media flocked to Atalissa to ask how such abuse could have happened there. Defensive residents recalled the parades and dances, and explained that they had not been inside the schoolhouse for many years. Still, the criticism tugged at the collective conscience. 
“I’m sure some of us — a lot of us, maybe — had second thoughts,” Mr. Hepker says. “That we should have looked into it a little deeper.”
Mr. Hepker, a former Atalissa official, had earlier reported to the Department of Human Services that the school house's front door was padlocked.  Hepker recalls:  
I was told that they were understaffed as all government agencies are, and did I have any evidence. And I said, ‘Well, just the door being padlocked shut.’
Barry's report continues:  
The padlock disappeared. But the incident continues to vex Mr. Hepker. If he had called about a skinny dog in someone’s yard, he says, the response would have been quicker, and better.
Another interesting part is this description of the men's work ethic:
The men were occasionally ridiculed, and even pelted with turkey slime; more often, though, they were admired for their work ethic. Dave Meincke, the plant’s evisceration supervisor, has never forgotten “how they took me under their wing” when he joined the assembly line more than 30 years ago, or the pride they had in letting no shackle pass empty. 
“They came in, and they got it done,” he says. 
But the men did not earn the same as their nondisabled colleagues.
Henry’s Turkey Service, which was paid directly by the plant for the men’s labor, was capitalizing on a section of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 that allows certified employers to pay a subminimum wage to workers with a disability, based on their productivity when compared with that of nondisabled workers. 
The company also deducted hundreds of dollars from the men’s earnings andSocial Security benefits for room and board — and “in-kind” services, like bowling, dining out and annual visits to an amusement park. The rest was deposited in individual bank accounts in Goldthwaite [where Henry's Turkey Service was based] that the company dipped into to pay for incidentals and medical costs, since the men had no health insurance or Medicaid in Iowa.
Both West Liberty and Atalissa are in Muscatine County.  The men who have not returned to family in Texas are now living in nearby Waterloo.   

Friday, March 7, 2014

Texas will soon be down to six abortion providers, thanks to S.B.2 and the Abbott case

The New York Times reports today from McAllen, Texas, population 134,719, regarding the latest abortion clinic closures caused by Texas S.B. 2, which requires abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic.  Here's the lede:
Shortly before a candlelight vigil on the sidewalk outside, employees of the last abortion clinic in the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas shut the doors early Thursday evening, making legal abortion unavailable in the poorest part of the state in the wake of tough new restrictions passed last year by the Texas Legislature. 
The closings on Thursday of two clinics operated by Whole Woman’s Health — the one here in McAllen and another in the East Texas city of Beaumont — are part of a wave of clinic closings brought on by the new law. 
There were 44 facilities that performed abortions in Texas in 2011, abortion providers said. After the two closings on Thursday, there are now 24, they said. When the law is fully implemented in September, that number is expected to drop to six.
McAllen is not rural; it is the largest city in Hidalgo County, which is metropolitan.  But the greatest impact of the law closing the McAllen and Beaumont clinics will be on rural women in south Texas, who previously relied on the McAllen, Beaumont, and Harlingen clinics.  They will now have to travel farther than ever to secure an abortion.  Here is an excerpt from Manny Fernandez's story that gestures to the law's impact on rural women:  
In McAllen, the shuttering of the city’s only abortion clinic has increased the costs, the time and the travel distance for women seeking abortions. Women have been making a roughly four-hour, 240-mile trip to San Antonio or a five-hour, 310-mile trip to Austin to get abortions. There had been only two clinics that performed abortions in the Rio Grande Valley, but by the end of the day Thursday there were none. The other one in nearby Harlingen closed days ago. 
Activity at the McAllen clinic had slowed recently. It stopped performing abortions last year after parts of the law went into effect.
The story closes with the poignant anecdote of a young woman who said she expected most women in the Rio Grande Valley would travel to Mexico for an abortion pill--a drug called misoprostol (brand-name Cytotec)--rather than to San Antonio.  
Honestly, I think they’ll go south of the border, if they have to.  It’s cheaper and it’s closer. To go to San Antonio is so much more of a hassle and costs a lot more.
The woman had recently traveled to San Antonio for an abortion, leaving at 3 am and arriving at the clinic at 8 am.  She had to wait the entire day to be seen even though she had an appointment.  Fernandez explains the delay:
The San Antonio clinic, it turned out, was packed with patients from the Rio Grande Valley area.  

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Literary Ruralism (Part VII): Toni Morrison's Paradise

I began reading Paradise (1998) last week, and the very first line grabbed my attention as a vivid expression of the legal relevance of rural spatiality.  That opening paragraph establishes the setting in rural Oklahoma, outside the fictional town of Ruby.  It also establishes the significance of that setting to the crime being described:  the perpetrators act under cover of rurality, without fear of discovery.
They shoot the white girl first. With the rest they can take their time. No need to hurry out here. They are seventeen miles from a town which has ninety miles between it and any other. Hiding places will be plentiful in the Convent, but there is time and the day has just begun. (p. 3)
Ten pages later we get a description of another crime, along with another depiction of how rural spatiality conceals:
More men came out, and more.  Their guns are not pointing at anything, just held slackly against their thighs.  Twenty men; now twenty-five.  Circling the circling cars.  Ninety miles from the nearest O for operator and ninety from the nearest badge.  If the day had been dry, the dust spuming behind the tires would have discolored them all.  As it was, just a little gravel kicked up in the tread they left behind.  (p. 13)
I have theorized this relationship between space and rural spatiality here.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Another ag gag law, this one in Idaho

Here is an excerpt from NPR's report by Bill Chappell:
Idaho's Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter has signed a bill that criminalizes the act of secretly filming animal abuse at agricultural facilities. The move comes days after the state's legislature approved the measure. 
"Otter, a rancher, said the measure promoted by the dairy industry 'is about agriculture producers being secure in their property and their livelihood,'" according to the AP
Under the law signed today, anyone caught making secret video recordings of agricultural operations could face a year in jail and a $5,000 fine. The legislation refers to "the crime of interference with agricultural production." 
Idaho is one of at least 10 states that have taken up so-called "ag gag" legislation after "videos revealing apparent cruel treatment of farm animals went viral" in recent years, as Kathleen Masterson reported for NPR in 2012.