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Hot Topic: Outlawing Secret Video Footage On Farms

img_5921.JPG The hot topic of the day is in Iowa where a bill has been passed in the House, "creating new criminal and civil penalties for anyone convicted of tampering or interfering with property associated with a livestock or crop operation. Supporters of this legislation say this will stop activists from disrupting farm operations and using selectively edited video or photographs to put the agriculture industry in a bad light," according to Mike Wiser and Rod Boshart for in an article entitled Iowa House OKs Bill Outlawing Secret Recording on Farms.

This bill has stirred up a great deal of heated discussion. Opponents are asking what agriculture has to hide? Proponents wonder about private property rights? Why doesn’t the videographer report the abuse immediately instead of spending months gathering footage? Other questions posed are: Why does the government need to play big brother to ranchers? What rights do livestock owners have? Should farm employees have to sign a waiver promising not to capture video images?

Let's face it. Activists make major bank off these videos; they have a lot to gain by manipulating videos, hiding their identities and taking advantage of a bad day on a livestock operation. I believe this legislation protects the rights of farmers and ranchers from being violated on their private property, their homes and their ranches.

I have listed a few comments from the here">article below. What are your thoughts on this bill? How can we protect rancher rights? How can agriculture police itself against bad apples? What can we do to encourage transparency in the food industry while protecting ourselves against activist tactics?

Comments from include:

"What these activists seem to forget is that they are entering private property and invading someone's privacy. They don't help their cause when it's discovered that their editing and staged situations are meant to incite contempt when perhaps it's not justified. Anybody who disagrees with this legislation on freedom of speech grounds needs to understand that farms are not public places. It is just as invasive as if they came to your home with a hidden camera, edited it to fit their purpose, then aired it," writes daveseavy.

“‘We are completely concerned about the health and well-being of our animals on our farms, and if we have individuals coming onto our farms and filming and not telling us they’re there, we are sincerely worried about the health and biosecurity,’ said Rep. Annette Sweeney, R-Alden, the bill’s floor manager. What? That makes no sense. If our food were actually safe we wouldn’t have all these recalls. There should be a camera in EVERY facility,” replies sandwichgirl.

"The farms are private property, and we should be able to prevent recording on private property," adds koppeia.

"If you're not doing anything wrong, why do you need to be sheltered from view?" asks PeterDuncan.