Ag Gag Hides the Truth From You and Your Family

 

What is Ag Gag?

 

“Ag gag” is freedom-crushing state legislation aimed at punishing whistleblowers on factory farms. These unconstitutional bills have been sweeping the nation as the agricultural industry attempts to hide the abuses and horrific conditions animals on factory farms must endure. Ag gag laws are in clear violation of First Amendment rights, and negatively affect humans in addition to animals. These dangerous laws allow food safety risks, employee harassment, and unsafe working conditions to go unreported.

 

The Current State of Ag Gag

 

The recent surge of ag gag bills is in response to a series of highly publicized undercover investigations by animal activists and journalists. These investigations have led to criminal convictions, lawsuits and major food recalls, and have allowed consumers to see the hidden practices of agribusiness. Because of the economic damages these investigations have caused, the agriculture lobby has relentlessly been pushing ag gag bills through state legislatures.

LCA monitors pending ag gag legislation, and campaigns against bills as they arise. In March 2015, LCA successfully defeated Arkansas bill HB 1774, which would have banned audio recording between anyone in an employment relationship unless all parties consented. After LCA exposed the bill to the media and circulated a petition against it, HB 1774 died quietly in committee.

See where your state stands below.

 

 

 

State by State

Ag gag bills:

ARKANSAS

Bill Name: SB 13, “An Act Providing Legal Protection to Animal Owners and Their Animals; To Ensure That Only Law Enforcement Agencies Investigate Charges of Animal Cruelty; and For Other Purposes”
Introduced: 01/14/2013
Sponsors: Sen. Gary Stubblefield (R-6)
Status: 04/12/2013 Passed with ag-gag language removed from the final bill.
Summary: Creates an offense for individuals other than law enforcement officers to knowingly conduct an investigation, including collection of evidence into alleged claims of criminal conduct involving an animal.
Click here to read the bill

Bill Name: SB 14, “An Act Creating The Offense Of Interference With A Livestock Or Poultry Operation; And For Other Purposes”
Introduced: 01/14/2013
Sponsors: Sen. Gary Stubblefield (R-6)
Status: 05/17/2013 Died in Senate Committee on Judiciary
Summary: Creates a misdemeanor offense for interference with a livestock or poultry operation. A person commits interference with a livestock or poultry operation if the person: knowing records an image or sound from  a livestock or poultry operation by leaving a recording device on the private property of the livestock or poultry operation, by gaining employment at a livestock or poultry operation, or by committing criminal trespass; obtains access to a livestock or poultry operation under false pretenses; or knowingly makes a false statement or representation as part of an application or agreement to be employed at a livestock or poultry operation with the purpose to commit an unauthorized act at the livestock or poultry operation.
Click here to read the bill

Bill Name: HB 1774, “An Act Concerning The Recording Of A Conversation; And For Other Purposes”
Introduced: 03/09/2015
Sponsors: Rep. Mark Lowery (R-39)
Status: 04/22/2015 Died in House Committee at Sine Die adjournment.
Summary: Prohibits the interception or recording of a conversation if the person is in an employment relationship with another party to the communication unless all parties have given prior consent to the interception and recording.
Click here to read the bill

CALIFORNIA

Bill Name: AB 343, Animal Ecological Terrorism Act
Introduced: February 13, 2013
Sponsor: Assembly member Jim Patterson (R-Fresno) California Cattlemen’s Association
Status: 01/31/2014: Died pursuant to Art. IV, Sec. 10(c) of the Constitution.
Click here to read the bill

COLORADO

Bill Name: SB 42, “A Bill For An Act Concerning Mandatory Reports of Animal Abuse”
Introduced: 01/07/2015
Sponsors: Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg (R-1); Rep. Jon Becker J. (R-65)
Status: Postponed indefinitely 02/09/2015
Summary: Requires mandatory reporting of animal abandonment, mistreatment or neglect within 48 hours.
Click here to read the bill

FLORIDA

Bill Name: SB 1246
Introduced: February 21, 2011
Sponsors: Sen. Jim Norman (R-Tampa)
Status: Died in Messages
Last Action: May 7, 2011- Withdrawn from consideration.
Summary: Prohibits a person from entering onto a farm and making any audio record, photograph, or video record at the farm without owner’s written consent.
Click here to read the bill

IDAHO

Statute: S1337
Status:  August 4, 2015 – Overturned by U.S. District Court Judge B. Lynn Winmill for violating First Amendment right to free speech (after being signed into law February 28, 2014 by Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter)
Summary: Adds to an existing law to provide for the crime of interference with agricultural production.
Click here to read the bill

ILLINOIS

Bill Name: SB 1532 (Section 19), Amendment to Humane Care for Animals Act
Introduced: February 13, 2013
Sponsor: Sen. Chapin Rose (R-Champaign)
Status: In House Rules Committee
Last Action: May 10, 2013- Re-referred to House Rules Committee
Summary: If a complaint that is made against an animal enterprise or employee is knowingly false and made with the intent to harass the person or entity, the Department may waive confidentiality of the complaint and may refer the matter to the State’s Attorney for consideration of criminal charges against the complainant.
Click here to read the bill

INDIANA

Bill Names: SB 373 & SB 391
Introduced: January 8, 2013
Sponsors: SB 373 Sen. Travis Holdman (R-19) & Sen. Brent Steele (R-44) SB 391 Sen. Carlin Yoder (R-12)
Status: SB 373- Sen. Holden will re-introduce a similar bill in the next legislative session. SB 391- Died in committee.
Last Action: SB 373- February 26, 2013- Passed the Senate April 15, 2013- Passed the House, returned to Senate with amendments; April 26, 2013- Dissent withdrawn SB 391- January 10, 2013- Referred to Senate Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources Summary: SB 373- Class A misdemeanor for a person to submit an application to a prospective employer and makes a false statement or commits application fraud. Provides that a person making a false or misleading written statement with the intent to obtain employment is excluded from the deception statute; enter an agricultural facility without permission. SB 391- Class A misdemeanor for a person to enter an agricultural facility without permission; and take a photograph or video recording of the property, structures on the property, or the agricultural operations being conducted on the property without permission. Requires the board of animal health to establish a registry of persons convicted of crimes concerning agricultural operations and livestock.
Click here to read SB 373; Click here to read SB 391

MINNESOTA

Bill Name: Companion Bills HF 1369 & SF 1118
Introduced: April 4, 2011
Sponsors: HF 1369- Rep. Rod Hamilton (R-22B) SF 1118- Sen. Doug Magnus (R-22)
Status: No hearings; did not advance.
Summary: Prohibits producing and/or distributing a record which produces an image or sound occurring at the animal facility, lab or puppy mill; employment at an animal facility, lab or puppy mill under false pretenses and crop operation tampering and interference
Click here to read HF 1369; Click here to read SF 1118

MISSOURI

Bill Name: Companion Bills SB 928 & HB 1414 (prev. HB 479), Privacy Protection for Agricultural Entities, Agricultural Data Collection
Introduced: 1/19/2016 (SB 928), 1/6/2016 (HB 1414 – previously introduced as HB 479 on 1/13/2015)
Sponsors: Sen. Brian Munzlinger (R-18), Rep. Jay Houghton (R-43)
Status: 7/8/2016 – Vetoed by Gov. Jay Nixon.
Summary: Same as HB 479 (Jan 2015) Prohibits release of any data collected for the purpose of animal health or environmental protection.
Click here to read the bill

MONTANA

Bill Name: SB 285, Generally revise laws relating to reporting of animal cruelty and abuse
Introduced: 01/07/2015
Sponsors: Sen. Frederick Moore (R-19)
Status: In committee
Last Action: 20/17/2015 Senate Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation Committee hearing
Summary: Requires mandatory reporting of animal cruelty within 24 hours.
Click here to read the bill

NEBRASKA

Bill Name: LB 204, “Change and provide criminal sanctions regarding animals and animal facilities”
Introduced: January 15, 2013 Sponsors: Sen. Tyson Larson (R-40)
Status: Indefinitely postponed 04/17/2014
Last Action: Jan 8, 2014 Title printed. Carryover bill to the One Hundred Third Legislature, Second Session, 2014.
Summary: Mandatory reporting of animal cruelty to authorities within 24 hours, and all original documentation turned over to authorities; failure to do so results in a Class III misdemeanor. It is unlawful for potential employees to make a false statement or representation as part of an application or agreement at an animal facility, with punishment ranging from a Class I misdemeanor to a Class III Felony.
Click here to read the bill

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Bill Name: HB 110
Introduced: January 3, 2013
Sponsor: Rep. Robert Haefner (R-37)
Status: Died on table 9/17/2014
Summary: Requires person who record cruelty to livestock to report such cruelty and submit such recordings to a law enforcement agency.
Click here to read the bill

NEW MEXICO

Bill Name: SB 552, Livestock Operation Interference Act
Introduced: February 14, 2013 Sponsor: Sen. Cliff R. Pirtle (R-32)
Status: Died in committee Last Action: March 2013- Sent to Senate Conservation Committee & Judiciary Committee
Summary: Prohibits recording image or sound from an agricultural operation without consent and obtaining access to that operation under false pretenses. Failure to comply results in a misdemeanor charge.
Click here to read the bill

NEW YORK

Bill Name: S.5172, “Unlawful tampering of farm animals.”
Introduced: May 3, 2011 Sponsor: Sen. Patty Ritchie (R-48)
Status: Died in committee Last Action: January 4, 2012- Referred to Senate Agriculture Committee
Summary: Any unlawful tampering or interference with a farm animal or farm is a misdemeanor, punishable of up to one year imprisonment or a fine of up to $1,000.
Click here to read the bill

NORTH CAROLINA

Bill Name: SB 648, NC Commerce Protection Act of 2013
Introduced: April 4, 2013
Sponsors: Sen. Brent Jackson (R-Sampson) Sen. Wesley Meredith (R-19) Sen. Jim Davis (R-50) Sen. Jerry W. Tillman (R-29)
Status: Passed with ag-gag language removed from the final bill.
Summary: An act to create the criminal offense of employment fraud, or to photograph, video or audio record without authorization. Penalties include a fine of $10,000
Click here to read the bill

Bill Name: HB 405 and Companion Bill SB 433
Introduced: March 31, 2015
Sponsors: Rep. John Szoka (R-45) Rep. Chris Whitmire (R-113) Rep. Jonathan Jordan (R-93) Rep. Rodney Moore (D-99) Rep. Jimmy Dixon (R-4) Rep. John Faircloth (R-61) Rep. Bert Jones (R-65) Rep. Susan Martin (R-8) Rep. Chuck McGrady (R-117) Rep. Allen McNeill (R-78) Rep. Dennis Riddell (R-64) Rep. Stephen M. Ross (R-63) Rep. Brad Salmon (D-51) Rep. Mitchell S. Setzer (R-89) Rep. Phil Shepard (R-15) Rep. Michael Speciale (R-3) Rep. Brian Turner (D-116) Rep. Ken Waddell (D-46)
Status: Vetoed by Governor McCrory on May 29, 2015
UPDATE:  Passed. McCrory’s Veto Overturned on June 3, 2015
Summary: Prohibits anyone from gaining access to a non-public area of their employer’s property for the purpose of making unauthorized recordings (including images or sounds) or capturing data or other material.  The bill creates a civil cause of action, allowing an employer to sue for any damages.
Click here to read HB 405; Click here to read SB 433

PENNSYLVANIA

Bill Name: HB 683, An Act amending Title 18 of the Pennsylvania Statutes
Introduced: February 12, 2013
Sponsor: Rep. Gary Haluska (D-73)
Status: Died
Summary: Would have made it a felony to interfere with agricultural operations, including a prohibition against recording image or sound from an agricultural operation without the consent and obtaining access under false pretenses.
Click here to read the bill

TENNESSEE

Bill Name: Companion Bills SB 1691 & HB 1838, An Act to Amend Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 50, relative to wrongful acts committed by employees.
Introduced: 1/14/2016 (SB 1691), 1/19/2016 (HB 1838)
Sponsors: Sen. Mike Bell (R-9) and Rep. Jeremy Durham (R-65)
Status: 1/21/2016, referred to Senate Commerce and Labor Committee (SB 1691), 1/26/2016, assigned to Consumer and Human Resources Subcommittee (HB 1838)
Summary: Prohibits employees from recording images or sounds, removing data, paper, records, or documents, and any parties who enabled or induced these actions would also be liable.
Click here to read the bills

Bill Name: Companion Bills SB 1248 & HB 1191, An Act to Amend Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 39 and Title 44, relative to animals
Introduced: February 13, 2013
Sponsors: Sen. Dolores Gresham (R-26) Rep. Andy Holt (R-76)
Status: HB 1248: 2013-05-13 Vetoed by Gov. Bill Haslam; HB 1191: died in chamber
Summary: Requires a person who records cruelty to animals as committed against livestock to report such violation and submit any unedited photographs or video recordings to law enforcement authorities within 24 hours of the photograph’s or recording’s creation.
Click here to read SB 1248; Click here to read HB 1191

VERMONT

Bill Name: S.162, “An Act Relating to Agricultural Facility Fraud”
Introduced: March 18, 2013
Sponsors: Sen. Robert Starr (D-Essex-Orleans) Sen. Norman McAllister (R-Franklin) Sen. John Rodgers (D-Essex-Orleans) Sen. Richard Westman (R-Lamoille)
Status: Died in committee
Summary: Specifies a fine of up to $1,000 for anyone who “makes a knowingly false statement or representation as part of an application to be employed at an agricultural facility.”
Click here to read the bill

WASHINGTON

Bill Name: HB 1104, “An Act Relating to creating the crime of interference with agricultural production”
Introduced: 01/09/2015
Sponsors: Rep. Joe Schmick (R-9), Rep. Larry Haler (R-8), Rep. June Robinson (D-38), Rep. Vincent Buys (R-42)
Status: Jun 28, 2015 — By resolution, reintroduced and retained in present status.
Last Action: 01/20/2015 Public hearing in the House Committee on Public Safety
Summary: Creates the crime of  Interference with Agricultural Production as a gross misdemeanor offense with maximum penalties of one year in prison, a $5,000 fine, or both.
Click here to read the bill

WYOMING

Bill Name: HB 126, “Establishing the offense or interference with an agricultural operation,” “Requiring reporting of cruelty to livestock.”
Introduced: January 11, 2013 Sponsors: Rep. Sue Wallis (R-52) Sen. Ogden Driskill (R-1)
Status: Died in committee and will not be re-introduced.
Last Action: February 26, 2013- Senate Committee returned bill pursuant to SR 5-4
Summary: Makes it a crime to knowingly or intentionally record images or sounds of an agricultural operation with concealed devices without the owner’s consent. Individuals who report abuse within 48 hours is immune from civil liability, but criminal penalties can include six months in jail and a $750 fine.
Click here to read the bill

Current ag gag laws:

IOWA

Statute: Iowa Code § 717A.1 et seq.: “An Act Relating To An Offense Involving Agricultural Operations, And Providing Penalties And Remedies” HF 589
Status: March 2, 2012 – Signed into law by Gov. Terry Branstad
Summary: A person commits the crime of agricultural production facility fraud if the person willfully: obtains access to an agricultural facility by false pretenses; or makes a false statement or representation as part of an application or agreement to be employed at an agricultural production facility with an intent to commit an act not authorized by the owner.
Click here to read the law

KANSAS

Statute: Farm Animal and Field Crop Research Facilities Act
Status: 1990 – Signed into law by Gov. Mike Hayden
Summary: Prohibits unauthorized entry into an animal facility with the intent to “damage the enterprise”; prohibits taking photos or videos inside the facility, or damage any field crop at the facility. Failure to comply results in a fine of $1,000-$25,000 and is a class A nonperson misdemeanor, class B nonperson misdemeanor or a nonperson felony.
Click here to read the law

MISSOURI

Statute: R.S.Mo. § 578.013 “Duty to submit videotape evidence of animal abuse or neglect” (SB 631)
Status: July 9, 2012 – Signed into law by Gov. Jay Nixon
Summary: Mandates that recordings depicting farm animal abuse or neglect must be submitted to law enforcement within twenty-four hours of the recording.
Click here to read the law

MONTANA

Statute: Farm Animal and Research Facility Protection Act
Status: 1991- Signed into law
Summary: Prohibits the unauthorized entering into an animal facility to take pictures by photograph, video camera, or other means with intent to commit criminal defamation.
Click here to read the law

NORTH DAKOTA

Statute: Animal Research Facility Damage Act
Status: 1991- Signed into law
Summary: Class B misdemeanor to enter an animal facility and use or attempt to use a camera, video recorder, or any other video or audio recording device. Violators face jail term of 30 days.
Click here to read the law

UTAH

Statute: Agricultural Operation Interference (HB 187)
Status: March 20, 2013 – Signed into law by Gov. Gary Herbert
Summary: Provides that a person is guilty of agricultural operation interference if the person records an image of, or sound from, an agricultural operation and establishes penalties.
Click here to read the law

WYOMING

Statute: “An Act creating the crimes of trespassing to unlawfully collect resource data and unlawful collection of resource data” (S.F. 12)
Status: 03/10/2015 – Signed into law by Governor Mead
Summary: Creates an offense to collect “resource data”, including photos and videos, on private land without express permission to collect the specified and prohibits the evidence to be used as evidence in criminal proceedings.
Click here to read the law

What You Can Do to End Ag Gag

1) Stop ag gag legislation through social media platforms such as Facebook, and join LCA on Twitter and Facebook to keep yourself up to date with the latest ag gag news.

2) Voice your stance against ag gag by contacting decision makers in states where the bills are pending. Let them know that the legislation is unconstitutional and should not be passed into law.  Find your state’s representatives by typing in your home address at www.votesmart.org. They will be located under the State Legislative tab.

3) If you live in a state where an ag gag law currently exists, contact your state legislators and demand a repeal. Go to www.votesmart.org to locate your state’s house and senate representatives.

About Last Chance for Animals

For more than 30 years, LCA has stood true to its core mission: To expose animal abuse, educate the public, and change the laws and policies that allow suffering.

Founded in 1984 by Hollywood actor Chris DeRose, Last Chance For Animals (LCA) has its roots in fighting and exposing the inherent cruelty of vivisection. In the organization’s early years, DeRose led teams of dedicated activists employing non-violent strategies modeled after social movements led by such leaders as Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.

With an increased budget and staff, LCA has now expanded its focus far beyond vivisection. LCA has tackled virtually every animal rights issue, including farming, fur, and animals in entertainment. Our cutting-edge, undercover investigations have exposed abuse all over the world, and our work has effected measurable change in public policy. We will not rest until no animal suffers from abuse.

 

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