Dairies and other agricultural producers told state senators to back a bill aiming to prohibit animal activists from spying on their operations after activists documented animal cruelty in 2012 at a big southern Idaho dairy.
The Senate Agricultural Affairs Committee on Tuesday considered what proponents called an "agricultural security measure" -- and foes say is a heavy-handed and punitive response to groups seeking to expose horrendous abuses.
The legislation would put people who surreptitiously film their operations in jail for up to a year and slap them with a $5,000 fine.
Bob Naerebout, the Idaho Dairymen's Association president, says his measure would add "teeth and strength" to existing prohibitions on trespassing.
Opponents argued the bill would put somebody behind bars merely for snapping a picture of a cow being abused.