No charges will come from a complaint filed against a farm owned by State Senator Ken Rozenboom, according to the Mahaska County Sheriff’s Office. In a press release, the office reported its investigation found no sufficient evidence of animal abuse or neglect at Rosewood Pork, located in rural Mahaska County and owned by Senator Rozenboom and his brother Calvin. The Iowa Department of Agriculture assisted in the investigation. A complaint was submitted on January 23rd by a representative with Direct Action Everywhere, a California-based animal rescue activist group. The Mahaska County Sheriff’s Office considered the complaint “unfounded.”
Matt Johnson, an Iowa native with Direct Action Everywhere, entered a hog farm owned by Rozenboom and his brother near Oskaloosa in April 2019 without permission, and recorded video and photos of pigs in poor health.
Rozenboom said in an interview with 92.1 KRLS News that the activist group was performing a “hit job” in direct response to a bill he helped pass in 2019 that increased penalties for people who use deception to gain access to farms for undercover investigations, and is currently being contested in courts. Rozenboom says his family had started to take over management of the barns before they knew about the investigation because of their concerns over the practices ongoing in the facilities he and his brother were leasing to other operators, and that his company, Rosewood Pork, now has more direct control of operations. Rozenboom says there was a respiratory illness that caused many of the symptoms shown and acknowledged that proper care protocols were not being followed, but denied there was evidence of neglect or abuse.
“The pictures indicate careless animal husbandry practices that violate acceptable animal care protocols, the very protocols that our family has carefully followed during a lifetime of animal care. What we saw in the pictures is not OK, and we took immediate steps to learn why this had occurred,” he said in a statement.
“It is important to note that these barns had been leased to another family farm operation several years ago, and were managed by them in April of 2019. At the time that this undercover investigation took place, Rosewood had no role in the management of the barns, had no ownership of the pigs, and had no employees who worked there.”