My comments on the NYT Opinionator post:
I'm not an expert on animal welfare, and I'm not sure that the laws in Iowa or Florida make sense. It would make better sense to legally require anyone that is aware of abuse to report it. i.e. if you are more interested in taking the time to create and edit a video as opposed to immediately reporting abuse, that should be a chargeable offense. It should also call into question your priorities about animal welfare. Animal welfare aside, one tradeoff that people are not often willing to admit is that the touchy feely, sentimental, emotional agriculture that they may prefer (free range, natural, etc.) isn't necessarily the most efficient or sustainable. Modern production methods that utilize green pharmaceutical and biotech technologies and efficient supply chains have a much lower carbon foot print are much more sustainable than often given credit for. The bigger story of the improved sustainability of modern agriculture in the last 10-2- years often gets lost in the drama created by stories like these, that often appear to be 'pro-family farm' and 'pro-sustainability' but ultimately support practices that undermine long term sustainability and the practices of most family farms.