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HARRISBURG - Sen. Mike Brubaker (R-36) introduced legislation today that would protect Pennsylvania agricultural operations by prohibiting unauthorized photos and video recordings.
Senate Bill 1596 would require individuals to obtain the owner’s permission before taking any photos or recordings on the premises. The bill would add individuals who take photos or video on a farm without the owner’s consent to the list of agricultural trespassers.
The legislation stems from an incident in Brubaker’s district that involved an activist group targeting a laying hen operation for an exposé featuring an unauthorized video filmed by an undercover employee. Despite the fact that three independent inspectors found health and safety conditions of the operation were at or above industry-best practices immediately following the incident, the accusations still placed a heavy burden on the business.
Under current law, there is no recourse for farm owners to protect their operation from an individual who takes photos or records video on their property without permission.
“This is not the first time that a local business has been unfairly targeted by activists, but this case serves as a startling example of the kind of damage that unfounded accusations can create,” Brubaker said. “It is important to ensure agricultural operations comply with necessary health and safety standards, but that doesn’t mean these businesses should be forced to endure all sorts of harmful, unverified allegations.”
Violators of the law would be guilty of a third-degree misdemeanor.