legislation > S.F. 1118/H.F. 1369
BILL STATUS: No hearings; did not advance.
S.F. 1118 and H.F. 1369 (companion bills) were introduced in the Minnesota Legislature during the 2011-2012 session. Minnesota functions on a two-year cycle. These bills did not get hearings in the House or Senate in 2011 or 2012 so did not move forward — the bills did not pass. (The 2011-2012 session ended May 10, 2012.)
AFMN POSITION: Opposed to this bill
S.F. 1118/H.F. 1369 gained a lot of attention because similar bills were introduced in other states by agricultural interests. Iowa and Utah passed similar bills. These bills would criminalize anyone "blowing the whistle" on animal cruelty, food safety problems, or labor abuses inside animal facilities by making it a crime to take photos, video or sound inside such facilities (without the permission of the owner) — or for the news media to possess or distribute these images.
This bill has been referred to as "Ag-Gag" legislation. The language in the Minnesota bills differs from some bills in other states in that it defines an 'animal facility' even broader terms. The Minnesota bills not only included farming operations, but they also included research facilities, veterinary offices, animal pounds or shelters, pet stores, boarding kennels and commercial breeding kennels. The bills also applied to crop operations.
While the bill did not pass in 2011-2012, a similar bill (new numbers) could be introduced in the 2013-2014 Minnesota Legislative Session. The "issue" has not gone away, though, in coming months, it may be challenged in states where it passed.
As this issue is critical (allowing for filming of animal abuse), data and links are provided below for education purposes. Examples of undercover video/photos leading to greater protections of animals, consumers, and communities:
BILL REVIEW AND COMMENTARY:
• Based on the Mercy for Animals' video (see link above) and ongoing acts of cruelty, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) released the following statements:
• Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF): Protect Your Food From Corporate Greed
• Animal Law Coalition: MN Bill Threatens Legitimate Efforts To Stop Animal Cruelty
• Minnesota Voters for Animal Protection (MVAP): MN Undercover Humane Investigations To Be Banned in Minnesota?
• Visual Resources for Animals: www.animalvisuals.org
ADDITIONAL LINKS/NEWS COVERAGE:
"Ag-Gag" bills have been introduced in Utah, Nebraska, Minnesota, Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Florida and New York. Iowa and Utah passed their bills into law; bills in other states failed or no action was taken.
• March 10, 2012 NPR: Ag-Gag Law Blows Animal Activists' Cover
• March 01, 2012 Food Safety News: Iowa Approves Nation's First Ag-Gag Law
• November 22, 2011 KARE11: More fall-out for Minnesota-based Sparboe Farms
• November 21, 2011 StarTribune: Lund's, Byerly's Pull Sparboe Eggs
• November 18, 2011 Huff Post: McDonald's Animal Cruelty: McDonald's Drops Supplier Sparboe Egg Farms After Undercover Investigation
• June 3, 2011 e News I Team: Nevada hotbed for animal welfare issues
• May 27, 2011 Grist: 'Ag-gag' bills face tough row to hoe
• May 27, 2011 Examiner.com: District attorney says he needed undercover video to make calf abuse case (video is from Mercy for Animals - see above videos)
• May 26, 2011 BusinessWire: Felony Animal Cruelty Warrants Issued Following Undercover Investigation at Texas Calf Factory Farm
• May 25, 2011 HSUS: "Ag Gag" Bills Die in Florida, Minnesota
(NOTE: As Minnesota functions on a two-year legislative cycle, the Minnesota Bill can still be heard and voted on in 2012 session.)
• May 21, 2011 Globegazette.com: Opposing sides dig in as Legislature considers ban on secret farm taping (Iowa)
• May 12, 2011 Animal Welfare Approved: Ag Gag Bill Dies A Welcome Death in Florida
• May 11, 2011 New York Times: Room for Debate: Preventing Cruelty on the Farm
• May 10, 2011: Victory! Florida House Protects Animal Welfare and Free Speech
• May 8, 2011 Global Animal: Are Animal Activists "Terrorists"? Big Ag Votes Yes
• May 8, 2011 Star Tribune (letter to the editor): Pork Producers on Videos: We're against deceit and for transparency
• May 5, 2011 New York Times: State Legislatures Take Up Bills Barring Undercover Videos of Confine Animal Feeding Operations
• May 4, 2011 StarTribune: Factory farms need more scrutiny, not less
• May 3, 2011 MiamiHerald: Industrial agriculture is not a pretty picture
• May 3, 2011 Mother Jones: WATCH: Agribusiness on the Assault (Cartoon)
• May 3, 2011 TheHorse.com: Undercover No More
• May 3, 2011 WebProNews: YouTube on Video Ban: Sometimes We Make The Wrong Call
• May 3, 2011 Global Animal: YouTube Censors Animal Abuse Documentation (updated)
• May 2, 2011 The UWMPost.com: Free speech sent to slaughter
• May 1, 2011 Food Safety News: Publisher's Platform: Transparency is Good
• April 30, 2011 WebProNews: Should YouTube have banned this animal cruelty investigation video?
• April 29, 2011 Examiner: You Tube bans Mercy for Animals cruelty video
• April 28, 2011 Star Tribune True North: Calf bashing video raises stakes on MN bill
• April 28, 2011 Organic Consumers Association: Minnesota Reps Behind Ag-Gag Bill Have Factory-Farm Ties
• April 26, 2011 New York Times Editorial: Hiding The Truth About Factory Farms
• April 26, 2011 New York Times The Opinion Pages Who Protects The Animals?
• April 22, 2011 Farm Sanctuary: Beyond Smoke and Mirrors: More Attempts by Agribusiness to Obscure Reality of Factory Farms
• April 22, 2011 Indymedia: Interview with COK's Erica Meier about bills to outlaw undercover farm investigations
• April 22, 2011 HuffPost Green: What Is Big Ag Trying To Hide?
• April 21, 2011 Winona Daily News: Our view: Bill just a coverup of bad behavior
• April 20, 2011 New Ulm Journal Letter: On the issue of puppy mills
• April 20, 2011 Wall Street Journal: Texas Sheriff Investigates Animal-Cruelty Video Rattling Cattle Market
• April 20, 2011 Examiner: Calves hammered, kicked, and burned in new Mercy for Animals undercover video
• April 20, 2011 Daily Herd Network Dairy farmers response to latest abuse video
• April 19, 2011 The Washington Independent CNN analysts: Farm-photo bans are unconstitutional, factory farms conditions are 'America's secret shame'
• April 19, 2011 Star Tribune Opinion: Effort to ban farm videos misguided
• April 19, 2011 PostBulletin.com (Rochester) Editorial: Banning video cameras is a misguided bill
• April 18, 2011 The American Independent CNN analysts: ban on filming at farms 'likely unconstitutional'
• April 17, 2011 New Ulm Journal Letter to Editor: Don't rely on whistleblowers
• April 17, 2011 Take Part Factory Farms: What you Need to Know About Minnesota's Anti-Whistleblower Bill
• April 16, 2011 PostBulletin.com Reader feedback: Do farmers need protection against animal-rights groups?
• April 15, 2011 Bluestem Prairie (New Media for Greater Minnesota): Not getting behind it: ag country daily newspapers reject anti-whistleblowing bill
• April 15, 2011 Fairmont Sentinel: Exposing animal abuse amounts to petty fraud
• April 15, 2011 City Pages: Daryn McBeth, agribiz lobbyist: People who photograph farms should be felons
• April 15, 2011 Fox News: States Consider Outlawing Undercover Animal Abuse Videos
• April 15, 2011 CNN: Agriculture industry pushes filming ban
• April 14, 2011 Health Freedom Alliance: More States Create Anti-Whistleblower Bills
• April 14, 2011 The New Ulm Journal: Don't punish whistleblowers
• April 14, 2011 Austin Post-Bulletin: Bill would ban filming of MN farming operations
(same article posted in AGWEEK)
• April 14, 2011 Dairy Agenda Today: Ag Gag Catching on in Minnesota
• April 13, 2011 Star Tribune: Free speech vs. food producers/preference to be left alone
• April 13, 2011 New York Times: States Look to Ban Efforts to Reveal Farm Abuse
• April 12, 2011 Bluestem Prairie: Consumers are stupid: Agri-Growth Council touts Babe in a Blender Restoration Act
• April 12, 2011 WCCO: Bill would ban video of farming operations
(CLARIFICATION: In the news report, people are advised to "go to the MN Board of Animal Health, if they have a problem." However, there is no state law that allows the MN Board of Animal Health to license, inspect or regulate dog and cat breeders — or to act on complaints within dog/cat breeding facilities. That is the purpose of S.F. 462/H.F. 702 — to give the Board of Animal Health the authority to act. In the report, it is also suggested that the abusive breeding practices of Minnesota dog breeder Kathy Bauck represents a "small fraction" of breeders. Animal cruelty within dog/cat breeding facilities throughout Minnesota is well-documented and has been a problem for decades.)
• April 12, 2011 Miami Herald: Bill would ban filming of Minn. farming operations
• April 11, 2011 Channel 11: Animal cruelty vs. ag rights debated
• April 11, 2011 Health Freedom Alliance: Monsanto cash helped fund bill to stifle whistleblowers in Iowa
• April 11, 2011 MNPost: Undercover cameras have important role in society
• April 8, 2011 Star Tribune: Bill would ban video of farming operations
• April 8, 2011 Northern Animal Advocate: Bills Seek to Punish Undercover Investigators
• April 8, 2011 Minnesota Farm Guide: Secret farm video law could backfire in a big way
• April 6, 2011 Green Is The New Red: Minnesota Bill Targets Anyone Who Exposes an "Image or Sound" of Animal Suffering at Factory Farms, Puppy Mills
• March 25, 2011 CNN: Bills would ban undercover farm footage
• March 24, 2011 Tampa Bay Online: Lights, camera, cover up?