Florida Farm Photography Bill Moving Forward

An agricultural panel in the Florida Statehouse has approved a bill that would criminalize unauthorized photography on privately owned farms.

Over the past several months, bills of this nature have been debated in agricultural states across the country. Inspired by a rash of undercover animal rights videos depicting animal cruelty on American farms, many farm advocacy groups have pressured state governments to pass laws banning unauthorized photography on private farms in an effort to prevent the production and distribution of animal rights videos.

Supporters of the bill deny that their intentions are to cover up animal cruelty and that they are merely concerned with protecting property rights.

Animal rights groups, on the other hand, argue that undercover investigations by private groups are frequently the only means activists have to jumpstart animal cruelty investigations. A spokesperson for the Humane Society of the United States cited a 1999 case involving the beatings and killings of calves, claiming that, “[the investigation] would not have happened… if we had not gone on that property and taken that video.”

A previous, more expansive version of this bill stalled when lawmakers discovered that its language could potentially ban pictures taken on the highway, police officer’s dash cam videos, and aerial photography. The current bill would only criminalize photographs taken from private property.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer