Joining Florida and Iowa, the Nebraska legislature is considering legislation that would limit the ability of animal rights activists to make undercover videos.
State Senator Tyson Larson, a Nebraska rancher, sponsored the legislation. It would close the legal window between observing animal abuse and reporting it to authorities, which is currently at two days, to twelve hours. In addition, the bill would require whistleblowers to surrender all video, photo, or audio evidence to authorities.
Larson says that these new requirements would prevent activists from using evidence to support their own causes, a goal that would better protect animal welfare. Opponents, on the other hand, say that the bill is a naked attempt to silence animal rights activists and cover up animal abuse.
According to officials from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, animal welfare investigations can sometimes take weeks, and requiring a twelve hour reporting window could limit the ability of investigators to demonstrate a pattern, allowing farmers to claim that the abuse was an isolated incident.
Nebraska is the latest state to attempt to limit the creation and distribution of animal rights videos. A bill that would require express permission from farmers in order to film is moving through the Florida Statehouse and Iowa legislators are attempting a revive a stalled bill that would criminalize seeking farm employment under false pretenses.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer