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  As of May, five states have laws on the books designed to curb the undercover photography or recording of…

 

As of May, five states have laws on the books designed to curb the undercover photography or recording of farm animals or agricultural activities or facilities. Three other states are considering such measures. Similar bills were killed this legislative session in Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Nebraska and Tennessee. The following is a breakdown of the type of recording activity each law or proposed law prohibits:

LAWS

Iowa: Criminalizes 1) obtaining access to an agricultural production facility by false pretenses; 2) lying on an employment application in order to gain access to the facility with the intent to commit an unauthorized act there, knowing that the activity is prohibited; and 3) harboring, aiding or concealing a person who engaged in the above with the intent to prevent his or her apprehension. (H.F. 589, 84th Gen. Assem., 1st Sess. (Iowa 2012))

Kansas: Criminalizes entering, without the owner’s consent, any vehicle, building, structure, research facility or premises where an animal is kept, handled, housed, exhibited, bred or offered for sale to photograph or record the “enterprise” conducted there. (Kan. Stat. Ann. §§ 47-1826—27 (1990))

Montana: Criminalizes entering, without the owner’s consent, any vehicle, building, structure, research facility or premises where an animal is lawfully kept, handled, housed, exhibited, bred or offered for sale to photograph or record the “enterprise” conducted there. (Mont. Code Ann. §§ 81-30-102—103 (1991))

North Dakota: Criminalizes entering, without the owner’s consent, any vehicle, building, structure, research facility, premises or defined area where an animal is kept, handled, housed, exhibited, bred or offered for sale to photograph or record or attempt to photograph or record the “enterprise” conducted there. (N.D. Cent. Code § 12.1-21.1-01—02 (1991))

Utah: Criminalizes 1) making, without the owner’s consent, a video or audio recording of an image of or sound from private property used for the production of livestock, poultry, livestock products or poultry products by leaving a recording device on the property or doing so while trespassing; 2) obtaining access to the property under false pretenses; and 3) applying for employment with the intent to make such a recording, accepting employment with the knowledge that such recording activity is prohibited and doing so while employed at and present on the property. (H.B. 187, 2012 Leg., Gen. Sess. (Utah 2012))

PROPOSED LAWS

Minnesota: Criminalizes 1) taking, without the owner’s consent, a photograph or video or audio recording while at a location where an agricultural animal is maintained — including, among other sites, locations dedicated to farming, livestock markets, livestock exhibitions and research facilities or other areas where animals are maintained for educational or scientific purposes — or where a crop is maintained — including, among other sites, crop fields, orchards, nurseries, greenhouses, gardens, barns or warehouses — of an image or sound occurring there; and 2) possessing or distributing a photograph or recording obtained by the means described in number 1 above. (H.F. 1369, 87th Leg., Reg. Sess. (Minn. 2011))

Missouri: Criminalizes 1) taking, without the owner’s consent, a photograph or video or audio recording while at a location where livestock or poultry is maintained for agricultural production — including, among other sites, locations dedicated to farming, livestock markets and livestock exhibitions – or where a crop is maintained – including, among other sites, crop fields, orchards, nurseries, greenhouses, gardens, barns or warehouses – of an image or sound occurring at the facility; 2) possessing or distributing a photograph or recording obtained by the means described in number 1 above; 3) exercising control over the facility with the intent to deprive it of an animal, crop or property; 4) entering onto or remaining at the facility, with notice that it is not open to the public; 5) obtaining access to the property by false pretenses; and 6) knowingly making a false statement or misrepresentation as part of an application for employment with the intent to commit an unauthorized act there, knowing that the activity is prohibited. The Missouri House of Representatives has passed the bill, which could be approved by the state Senate and head to the governor for enactment before the current legislative session ends on May 18. (H.B. 1860, 96th Gen. Assem., 2d Reg. Sess. (Mo. 2012))

New York: Criminalizes taking, without the owner’s consent, a photograph or video or audio recording of a farm animal or any building, structure, vehicle, pasture, paddock, pond, impoundment area, land or property upon which farm animals are housed, cared for, grazed or bred. (S. 5172, 2011—2012 Assem., Reg. Sess. (N.Y. 2011))