The CSR Newsletters are a freely-available resource generated as a dynamic complement to the textbook, Strategic Corporate Social Responsibility: Sustainable Value Creation.

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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Strategic CSR - Agribusiness

If anyone doubts the hold that agribusiness has over the regulation of the U.S. food industry, the article in the url below presents food for thought (pun intended). It reports the passage of a bill through the Iowa legislature that is designed to prevent the release of illicitly-shot video by animal rights activists revealing the conditions under which animals are raised and our food supply produced:

In Iowa, where agriculture is a dominant force both economically and politically, such undercover investigations could soon be illegal. A bill before the Iowa legislature would make it a crime to produce, distribute or possess photos and video taken without permission at an agricultural facility. It would also criminalize lying on an application to work at an agriculture facility ‘with an intent to commit an act not authorized by the owner.’

The article reports that:

Similar legislation is being considered in Florida and Minnesota.

The bill has stalled in the Iowa legislature, but not due to a lack of political support:

The Iowa bill was approved by a wide margin by the House and was passed by the Senate Agriculture Committee. It stalled after the attorney general's office raised concerns that prohibiting the possession and distribution of images … infringed on free speech. Supporters are working on compromise language.

That the first amendment right to free speech is seen as a stumbling block that needs to be worked around indicates that it is business interests, rather than the sanctity of the food production process, that is the politicians’ primary concern. As John Kibbie, Democrat and president of the Senate, puts it:

‘Agriculture is what Iowa is all about,'' Mr. Kibbie said. ''Our economy would be in the tank, big time, if it wasn't for agriculture.’

Take care

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States Look to Ban Efforts to Reveal Farm Abuse
1197 words
14 April 2011
The New York Times
Late Edition - Final