NYT covers legislative bans on photo and video of US farms

Black angus beef graze in open pastures on a ranch outside of Ledger, Montana, USA. -  photo by M. Scott Brauer

Black angus beef graze in open pastures on a ranch outside of Ledger, Montana, USA. – photo by M. Scott Brauer

We’ve written before about the so-called “Ag-Gag” bills that make illegal unauthorized video and photography of agricultural operations in various states. Today, the New York Times has an update on the increasing number of these types of laws throughout the United States: Videos show cruelty on farm, and taping becomes the crime. The NYT’s reporting connects bills across the country to a business advocacy group called the American Legislative Exchange Council. The organization creates model legislation for state legislatures to adopt such as The Animal and Ecological Terrorism Act, which would prohibit video and still photography of livestock farms and puts violators on a “terrorist registry.”

Though no laws including a terrorist registry provision have yet been passed, Iowa, Utah and Missouri have passed laws that make it illegal to document operations on farms and agricultural operations without authorization. Indiana and Tennessee will soon vote on similar laws, and California, Pennsylvania, and other states are debating similar measures. The Indiana law would require prospective employees to disclose ties to animal rights groups during the hiring process. Animal rights groups say that these laws make it impossible to document animal cruelty on farms and ranches. Opponents of bills have managed to stall or stop Ag-Gag bills in New Mexico, New Hampshire, and Wyoming.

  1. John Krill says:

    The best anti-photography law isn’t about farms and animals but policemen in Chicago. If you photograph a policemen in Chicago without their permission you have just committed a felony. Jail time baby.


    M. Scott Brauer Reply:

    Thanks for the comment, John. We’ve covered that issue a bit in the past. Here’s one post about it: Three US states make recording police activity illegal


  2. Rich Hirschhorn says:

    All this so-called legislation is another assault on our rights. Police should not be afraid unless they are doing something illegal. I am a former police officer, and i was photographed a few times, but i had no problem with that. As a matter of fact, one time i even asked the photographer for a set of prints. I dont care who you are or where you are, if you have nothing to be afraid of then there is nothing wrong. I do agree, there are some places that one should not photograph, places that would compromise our national security.


  3. [...] covered the so-called Ag-Gag bills enacted across the US to outlaw the unauthorized filming and photography [...]

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