Update: The booth reopened on Saturday after fair officials relented and asked PETA to return. Once again, Iowa State Fair visitors were able to see farm workers’ callous behavior and unlawful cruelty to animals for themselves via the uncensored undercover video footage shown at the booth.
Originally posted August 10:
Fairgoers are used to seeing the traditional 4-H booths, but the Iowa State Fair was so shocked by PETA’s decidedly nontraditional version—which showed PETA’s “Glass Walls” video exposing the horrific cruelty of the meat trade—that everyone’s favorite animal rights group was banished from the fairgrounds.
Sensitive Ears, Insensitive Hearts
Supposedly, the raw language used by one factory-farm worker in the undercover video footage—he drops an F-bomb while describing the difficulty of snapping turkeys’ necks—proved too much for Iowans’ delicate ears. Then again, the ejection may have been due more to what the video showed than what was being said.
Iowa has already shown intolerance for finding out what goes on behind the scenes of the meat industry by passing an “ag gag” law, making it illegal to photograph or film factory-farm and slaughterhouse conditions. And people who’ve already stopped by the booth learned what the law is designed to conceal because “Glass Walls” includes video footage from a PETA investigation that documented how pigs at an Iowa Hormel supplier were being beaten and abused by workers, leading to convictions for livestock abuse and neglect.
Interestingly, PETA was the only “vendor” at the fair not selling anything but instead trying to educate the Iowa public about the darker side of agriculture, which is of increasing concern to the nation. Instead of peddling cotton candy or corn dogs, PETA just offered free food for thought and paid for the privilege of doing so. It seems that fair officials were more alarmed by the message and the throngs of people the booth attracted—especially teens.
Get ‘Em While They’re Young
It’s a shame that now those teens may not have the chance to learn how the meat business hurts animals—and works to co-opt young people with not-so-subtle propaganda. 4-H offers a lot of great programs for kids, but participants in its agricultural programs spend numerous hours bonding with cows, sheep, goats, and chickens who will ultimately make their way to a blood-soaked killing floor, just as most animals raised for food do.
That’s why in PETA’s booth, the four H’s stood for “Hell for animals,” “Heart attack–inducing,” “Hazard to the environment,” and “Hypocritical for teaching kids to care about only certain animals and to disrespect others.”