Give Now

Delays, Closings and Severe Weather - View All Alerts and Updates

Ag-Gag Legislation Makes Second Debut In General Assembly

Corn stalks rise in front of red barn in Indiana where farmers are planting more of the crop because of increased demand.

Proponents call it a measure designed to protect the property rights of Indiana farmers.  Opponents call it an effort to keep the public in the dark about what happens on Indiana farms. The proposed “ag-gag” legislation in its second consecutive session that would criminalize photographing or videotaping agricultural operations if the business is harmed.

Markle Republican Senator Travis Holdman’s legislation criminalizes any activity on agricultural operation property – such as photography or videotaping– that results in financial loss for that business.

The bill would make the crime – depending on the amount of the loss – anywhere from a misdemeanor to a low-level felony.  Indiana Pork Producers executive director Josh Trenary says farmers need to control who comes on their property.

“You have to start creating some kind of deterrent there where people just can’t come in and use footage to further an activist agenda,” Trenary said. “If they’re coming in to take footage, they’re doing it to address a specific illegal activity and handing that in to the proper authorities.”

Erin Huang is the Indiana state director for the Humane Society.  She says the bill deters public discourse, trying to shield the Indiana agricultural industry from scrutiny.

“Senate Bill 101 shows just how much industrial ag has to hide that they’re willing to go to such lengths to keep Americans in the dark about how they’re treating animals and what’s happening in our food supply,” Huang said.

Indiana Broadcasters Association general counsel Dan Byron says the bill bottles up free speech, creating serious questions about its constitutionality.  A Senate committee is expected to vote on the bill next week.

Want to contact your legislators about an issue that matters to you? Find out how to contact your senators and member of Congress here.

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Indiana Public Media News:

Support For Indiana Public Media Comes From