February 9, 2024


Iowa, US advances bill to restrict surveillance drones near livestock facilities


A bill initially approved by Iowa, US last year, aimed at prohibiting the flying of surveillance drones within 400 feet of open feedlots and animal confinements, received committee approval in the US Senate, signalling progress in the legislative effort to safeguard livestock producers from covert investigations, News From The States reported.


House File 572, part of a series of measures addressing concerns over animal welfare group surveillance, seeks to establish penalties for flying drones too close to farmsteads or livestock facilities. Classified as a simple misdemeanour, the offense could lead to up to 30 days in jail, with an escalation to a serious misdemeanour, carrying a potential one-year jail sentence if surveillance equipment is detected on the drone.


The bill contains exemptions for facility owners, authorized individuals, those engaged in commercial or agricultural activities, and select employees of government entities, public utilities, and railroad companies. Additionally, farmers would be empowered to obtain court injunctions preventing drone operation near their facilities for up to two years and compelling the deletion of any recorded footage.


During Tuesday's Senate Natural Resources and Environment committee session, minimal debate preceded the bill's approval, indicating broad support. The measure now progresses to the full Senate for further deliberation.


Previously endorsed by the House with an 87-10 vote in April, the bill remains eligible for consideration in the current legislative session, part of the ongoing General Assembly.


The advancement of this bill comes in the wake of a federal appeals court decision overturning injunctions against two other Iowa laws, known as "ag gag" laws, aimed at preventing deceptive entry into livestock facilities and filming while trespassing.


-      News From The States