WKU Public Radio News Staff
Tue March 25, 2014
Senate Amendement Would Ban Undercover Videos on Kentucky Farms
An undercover video released in February by the Humane Society showed – what it described – as inhumane conditions at a hog farm in Owensboro. Under an amendment proposed by the Senate agriculture committee on Tuesday, taking secret videos like that would be against the law.
The amendment was added to the House bill that dealt with the ways animals could be euthanized.The amendment declares that any photographs or video taken without a farmer's permission would be considered a crime.
Paul Shapiro with the Humane Society of the United States called it an attempt to silence the investigations they conduct.
“Animal cruelty exposés often rely on video and photographic evidence,” said Shapiro. “The meat industry’s response to our exposés is to try to criminalize the mere act of whistle blowing at their operations, which shows you just how much they have to hide.”
Shapiro says similar legislation in several other states has failed, or is currently tied up in legal challenges.
Supporters of the no hidden-video amendment include the Kentucky Farm Bureau. Spokesman Jeff Harper says farmers are held to strict standards and it doesn’t make financial sense to mistreat animals.
“If their livestock, and or poultry are healthy or not well taken care of, they will not do well at market, when they go to be marketed, and that farmer will not be in business for very long,” said Harper.
Harper also says the amendment will prevent undercover investigators from posing as job candidates to get access to Kentucky farm facilities. The full Senate will consider the amended bill. If passed, it would then go back to the House.
Shapiro says no action has been taken against the hog farm where the Humane Society took photos and videos in February.