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Petition: Deranged Senator Wants 30yr Prison Terms for ARA's Photographing Farms

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  • Brennan Browne
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    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 9, 2011
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      http://www.change.org/petitions/fl-sb1246-farms-covers-up-illegal-farming-practices-endangering-public-safety#?opt_new=f&opt_fb=t


      FL SB1246 - farms - covers up illegal farming practices endangering
      public safety

      Your Honor:

      Florida SB 1246 (Farms) would make it a felony for anybody to
      photograph or video record illegal acts in farms thereby making it
      impossible to report to law enforcement. This bill means, literally,
      "Protecting farmers so they may use downer cows and illegal or banned
      chemicals". Also protects acts of animal cruelty, even using gestation
      crates which has been banned by our Florida Constitution. As long as
      these farmers sell to the public WE HAVE A RIGHT TO KNOW if they are
      poisoning us or not, or feeding us downer cows.

      Please protect our us and our children-say NO to SB 1246 - farms.

      Without photos or videos, there would be no evidence, and the sky is
      the limit what farmers can do with unethical, dangerous, and illegal
      practices.

      Thank you for your time and reading.

      Sincerely,


      (Pic via Wikimedia Commons)

      Norman bill would make farm photography a first-degree felony; animal-rights groups outraged

      A bill filed by state Sen. Jim Norman, R-Tampa, would make photographing farms without the written consent of the owner a first-degree felony in Florida. Senate Bill 1246, simply titled “Farms,”
      has caused a stir among animal-advocacy groups for comparing a
      potential whistleblower who might expose the realities of factory
      farming — or even a tourist snapping a photograph of cows grazing in a
      field — with those who commit murder or armed robbery. #
      “This bill is particularly outrageous, and frankly Sen. Norman should be
      ashamed of himself for even introducing a bill like this,” says Jeff
      Kerr, general counsel for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
      (aka PETA). #
      The language of the bill,
      which is very brief, notes that video or photographic records taken “at
      or of a farm” would become illegal, and the guilty party could face the
      same penalties as a violent criminal — including a $10,000 fine and up to 30 years in prison. #
      “It’s beyond ridiculous, blatantly unconstitutional and clearly designed
      to protect animal abusers,” Kerr says. “He should be introducing bills
      to require cameras be in slaughterhouses and animal-raising facilities
      so the abusers can be identified and prosecuted, not protected behind
      closed doors.” #
      There are currently no mechanisms in place to monitor animal welfare on
      Florida’s farms, with inspections focusing on the food itself, not the
      conditions of the animals. Organizations such as PETA and the Animal
      Rights Foundation of Florida contend Norman drafted the legislation in
      response to a number of high-profile exposés that revealed horrific
      conditions on farms around the country, and worry that without
      whistleblowers the industry will operate with impunity. #
      “Whistleblowers play an important role in our society — exposing waste,
      fraud and abuse not just in agribusiness but in any industry,” Humane
      Society of the United States spokesman Paul Shapiro says. ”Agribusiness
      is notoriously secretive because many of its standard industry practices
      are so extreme, so cruel, that they are out of step with what
      mainstream American values would demand of our treatment of animals.” #
      Even within the agribusiness community itself, internal discussion has emerged about the merits of Norman’s legislation. #
      The editor of CattleNetwork.com, a website affiliated with the nation’s oldest monthly livestock magazine Drovers, recently authored a piece
      questioning the logic Norman’s bill, asserting that such “extreme”
      measures give the impression that the industry has something to hide: #
      [W]e need more transparency in agricultural production.
      In reality, the vast majority of livestock operations are well-managed,
      with owners and workers adhering to high standards of animal care.
      Consumers do want to know more about their food and where it comes
      from, and when they have a chance to see and experience modern
      livestock production first-hand, they typically come away with positive
      impressions. #
      For farmers and ranchers, the focus should not be on legislation or
      other means of concealing their production practices. Instead, they
      should engage the public with a policy of transparency. #
      Nick Atwood of Animal Rights Foundation of Florida claims “the bill is a
      reaction to the many investigations by animal-rights groups around the
      country.” #
      “Our organization has done some filming at farms in Florida,
      but they haven’t generated the kind of attention that investigations
      in other states have caused,” he says. “We think the bill is
      unconstitutional and has very little chance of passing, but still it’s
      concerning that the senator thought it was an issue that he had to
      address.” #
      In 2008, an investigation by the Human Society of the United States led to the largest beef recall in U.S. history — 143 million pounds — and brought the realities of industrial agriculture and factory farming to the nation’s attention in a visceral way. #
      While animal-advocacy organizations feel Norman’s legislation targets
      their efforts to expose abuse, some point to the notion of protecting
      “trade secrets” as the rationale for such measures. #
      Via the Florida Tribune: #
      Wilton Simpson, a farmer who lives in Norman’s
      district, said the bill is needed to protect the property rights of
      farmers and the “intellectual property” involving farm operations. #
      Simpson, president of Simpson Farms near Dade City, said the law would
      prevent people from posing as farmworkers so that they can secretly
      film agricultural operations. #
      He said he could not name an instance in which that happened. But animal
      rights groups such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and
      Animal Freedom display undercover videos on their web sites to make their case that livestock farming and meat consumption are cruel. #
      “Our investigations over many years have given the public a look inside
      these facilities,” Kerr says. “We’ve shown pigs being kicked in the head
      and spray-painted in the eyes, sadistic employees stomping and throwing
      chickens and turkeys like they’re baseballs and footballs, pigs being
      sexually assaulted with gate rods or having their heads smashed with
      cinder blocks.” #
      “This is the kind of stuff that goes on every single day, and it’s the
      stuff that should be exposed,” he says. “The doors of slaughterhouses
      should be swung open wide so people can see where their food comes from,
      not slammed shut like this senator would suggest.” #
      Jim Norman is a former Hillsborough county commissioner who became embroiled in controversy last fall and was briefly removed from the ballot
      after failing to disclose that his wife had received a $500,000 home
      loan from a Tampa businessman Norman had a cozy relationship with. #
      Several messages left with Norman’s office seeking comment were not returned.

      ###


      "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter."
       ~ Martin Luther King Jr.


      The concept of 'animal rights' values the simple premise that ALL living
      creatures have a "right" to be allowed to live their lives without
      victimization--free from brutality. It is a right that EVERY being
      strives for.
      ~ Brennan Browne









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