Bill aims to ban undercover videos at farms, food plants
By Kevin Rader, WTHR political reporter - bio | email
Undercover videos showing claims of illegal or inhumane treatment of animals at farms and food processing plants may soon become illegal in Indiana.
The videos, often shot with undercover cameras, lead to changes and highlight serious concerns about the health of the food we eat.
Just five years ago, undercover video led to the largest food recall in American history. The theory was the ends justify the means.
Now, the use of undercover video is under attack in five states, including Indiana. One side argues that use of undercover video amounts to nothing more than surreptitious industrial espionage without the owner's consent.
"This simply is a protection against the surreptitious and, oftentimes, staged recording, which frequently is undertaken by trespassers, not employees," said Bob Kraft, representing the Farm Bureau.
Kraft says many times, the video or still pictures are often used by groups with the published agenda to eliminate meat from the American diet.
Groups on the other side of the debate claim it is purely an anti-whistleblower bill.
"Through whistleblowing employees and investigations of animal cruelty, food safety issues and workers' rights issues have been exposed to the public. The public is finally learning what is happening on these industrial operations and, instead of working to fix these abuses from happening in the future, the industry has decided to introduce anti-whistleblower bills," said Matthew Dominguez, Humane Society of the United States.
There are three bills dealing with this issue at the Indiana Statehouse and all are a little different. This one, which includes agricultural and industrial locations, will be heard in committee tomorrow.