[Florida] SB 1246 by Sen. Jim Norman, R-Tampa, would make it a first-degree felony to photograph a farm without first obtaining written permission from the owner. A farm is defined as any land “cultivated for the purpose of agricultural production, the raising and breeding of domestic animals or the storage of a commodity.”
A first-degree felony can get you 30 years. Human trafficking in Florida is a second-degree felony — maximum of 15 years — so Norman is evidently serious about protecting those cows.
But as always, there’s something else going on:
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.
Actually, this threat seems a bit exaggerated: your random J. Sunshine Activist wouldn’t last four hours feigning farm work. It makes more sense just to capture the trespassers and send them off to work in the secret Bacon Mine.