Filming or photographing farm animal operations without a farmer's consent would be criminalized under the language the Senate Agriculture Committee attached to a bill sent to the Kentucky Senate on Tuesday.
Kentucky Farm Bureau executive Jeff Harper says the provisions are needed because Kentucky is becoming a target of animal rights activists who secretly film or photograph farm operations.
- Those who oppose the bill, like Paul Shapiro, a vice president with the Humane Society of the United States, says the bill is the meat industry's attempt to silence whistleblowers who expose animal cruelty or food safety violations.
The Senate Agriculture Committee attached the "Ag-Gag" provision that says that a person could be subject to a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $250 fine, for secretly recording farm operations on private property. Concerning the Humane Society's opposition to such bills, Harper said: "I would say to them that the care of livestock and poultry is the farmer's bottom line. The better they take of their animals, the better those animals are going to do when they go to market." However, the fact that the bills emerged just a month after people from the Humane Society exposed animal abuse at a western Kentucky pig farm suggests otherwise. Unfortunately for those who are more concerned about animal welfare than industry autonomy, the tendency of farming states is to pass these laws. Less than a month ago, an "Ag-Gag" bill was signed into law in Idaho.