A second state legislative body has passed more legal protection for those who wish to practice animal agriculture in relative secrecy. In a 30-to-20 vote, the Indiana Senate passed Senate Bill (SB)-0373, making it unlawful to photograph or make a video recording or motion picture of agriculture operations without the written consent of the owner. And “ag-gag” bills have been introduced in at least three additional states. In Pennsylvania, the General Assembly has referred House Bill (HB)-683 to the House Judiciary Committee. The bill would make interfering with agricultural operations and offense. Companion measures SB-1248 and HB-1191 were introduced in the Tennessee General Assembly. Both bills require anyone who records cruelty to animals to submit unedited photographs or video recordings to law enforcement within 24 hours. The bills have been assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee and House Committee on Agriculture. In the New Mexico Senate, the “Livestock Operation Inference Act,” SB-552, was assigned to both the  judicial and conservation committees. In California, Assembly Bill (AB)-343 has been reported by some as an “ag-gag” bill, but as introduced it may be more limited in scope. Before it passed the Hoosier State Senate, Sen. Travis Holdman (R-Indianapolis) amended the bill to exempt anyone who turns over the video or photos to law enforcement within 48 hours from prosecution. However, the exemption is lost if the material is shared with a party outside of law enforcement, like a newspaper or television station. With the vote, the Indiana Senate joined the Wyoming House in putting a so-called “ag-gag” bill just one vote away from being on their governor’s desks for signature. In Wyoming, libertarian Republican Sue Wallis won a 33-to-27 vote in the House more than two weeks ago for her farm and ranch protection bill. The Wyoming measure is similar to Indiana’s. House Bill (HB)-0126 is up against the clock in Laramie. It was referred out of committee on a 5-to-4 vote, but adjournment is coming shortly for Wyoming’s legislature, so time for a floor vote is limited. Much more time for a vote exists in the Indiana House, as the Hoosier General Assembly is in business until at least April 29. SB-0391, a measure similar to SB-0373 appears to have been dropped. While at this point it appears that Wyoming and Indiana might join the six states that already have “ag-gag” laws on the books, attempts are continuing in three other states. In Arkansas, where adjournment is scheduled for March 14, two bills had to be withdrawn from committee and then re-referred when a sponsor dropped out. SB 13, limiting animal cruelty investigations to law enforcement and SB-14, creating an interference with livestock or poultry offense, are both back in the Senate Judiciary Committee, and may be running out the clock. In New Hampshire, HB-110 has been held in committee, effectively killing it for this legislative session. “Ag-gag” in New Hampshire ran just few words, requiring prompt reporting of animal abuse. Finally, the Nebraska Unicameral has sent Legislative Bill (LB)-204 to the Judiciary Committee, which plans to conduct public hearings on March 14, 2013. LB-204 has picked up a couple of new sponsors. The hearing will probably tell whether the powerful Cornhusker farm lobby plans to get behind the bill.

  • See no evil, hear no evil, photo no evil!

  • Can anyone say “blatantly unconstitutional?”

  • On the other hand, how would you feel about
    strangers wandering around YOUR property without permission? They avoid
    trespassing laws by simply claiming they want to make sure you are
    really caring for your house cat? Why is it a bad thing to require those
    “expose” photos and videos be turned over to the police, who can use it
    for prosecution, instead of to make money?

    • That is a fallacious argument, because as has been noted time and again there already exist trespassing laws. These laws would apply equally to a farm as to a private dwelling. 

      No, these laws are intended to stop whistleblowers from gathering evidence of unethical, unsafe, and cruel practices. The CAFO owners and slaughter houses want them passed because the owners know that they violate safety and humane laws. 

      I find it unlikely any prosecutor would prosecute anyone for these laws, either, because they will end up challenged in court and most likely found to be unconstitutional.

    • Protect_us_from_agroterrorists

       Excellent point entirely lost on animal rights zealots.

    • Your example is not analagous to the gravity of the situation. Slaughterhouses are part of the food supply and need to be open to scrutiny. 

    • covered in the new food  safety act it is also the farmers responsibility not to allow people in the fields and food or chemical storage facilities due to risk of contamination. most industries wont allow pictures or videos of operations

    • timkern

      What’s wrong with making money? Why should that be the criterion of why something should be illegal?

    • Being Real

      I would welcome the opportunity to show I care for my animals! Like any abuse, whether human or animal, the innocent depend on us to expose cruelty. If you have nothing to hide, you have no fear of exposure. And – people who love animals are the most loving people on the face of the earth.

  • Pennington Geis

    This will go a long way to inspiring confidence in our food, now won’t it? 

  • Secrecy is always to hide something you don’t want someone else to know. Secrecy does not belong to the XXI century. What about drones over flying? They just want to keep some secrets for you and me. The government always have ways to know what they want and to get away with it. 

  • DoryHippauf

     AG-GAG originated with American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).  ALEC calls it the Animal and Ecological Terrorism Bill. http://www.scribd.com/doc/129079907/Alec-Animal-Ecological-Terrorism-Bill

    • timkern

      Thank you. ALEC is a group that likes to write standardized legislation, to cover as if by federal law that which is unconstitutional for the feds to enact. (Given the attitude in D.C. to constitutional limits on anything, ALEC may soon be out of business.)

    • timkern

      Here’s the ALEC site, where you don’t have to pay sdribd to download it: http://www.alec.org/model-legislation/the-animal-and-ecological-terrorism-act-aeta/

  • timkern
  • carti41

    So pro slaughter people I guess it’s okay to slam a piglets head on th floor and leave it there to die? Protect the workers. I saw grow your own no more commercial farm meat Ag-gag Sue Wallis please.

  • Being Real

    Shame on politicians to miss this opportunity to help lead the farming industry away from unethical business practices. With me, it is about the protection of animals against abuse – pure and simple. They are innocent creatures with personalities, emotions and feel both compassion and abuse. They have no voice and depend on humans to educate and protect.