The Missouri legislature has passed a bill that would make it a crime for employees of ag operations to hold on to videos they take of animal abuse. The Missouri Farmers Care Coalition – applauds the measure that passed last Friday, the final day of the 2012 Missouri Legislative Session.
“Say you’re an undercover investigator for an animal rights group. You shouldn’t be sitting on that for months or weeks at a time, editing it for maximum impact and fund-raising ability. You need to turn that evidence over to the authorities immediately so that problem can be dealt with through the proper channels,” says MFCC operator Dan Kleinsorge. The measure is part of a larger Missouri agriculture bill and would require such videos be turned over to authorities within 24 hours. An intentional violation would be a Class-A misdemeanor.
Kleinsorge says it’s a different approach from so-called “ag-gag” legislation that passed in Iowa and Utah that discourages people from lying on job applications to gain on-farm access, “That (ag-gag legislation) wouldn’t necessarily prevent people from sneaking into the farm or videotaping it from the outside from a public road or public access.”
Kleinsorge says the Missouri video bill would also be more likely to stand up in court. Missouri’s omnibus ag bill also – among other provisions – guarantees the right to exhibit livestock and defines animals as not having human rights.