State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Mary Wilson covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

Bill to prevent secret filming of farms causing stir, if not action

Written by Mary Wilson, Capitol Bureau Chief | Apr 7, 2013 10:01 PM

This entry has been edited to correct Rep. Haluska's party affiliation.

Activists are sounding alarms over a state House proposal that hasn't seen much action to date. The measure would make it a felony to take photos, as well as audio- and videorecordings of a farm or agricultural land.

Rep. Gary Haluska (D-Cambria) said the idea for the legislation came from farmers in his district concerned about people trying to record or photograph their farm operations in an unflattering light.

"Sometimes you can take some things out of context, if you have a sick animal or something or if you have to dispatch an animal, which is just a normal part of doing business in the farming community, and sometimes it gets trumped up."

To dispatch an animal, Haluska clarified, means to kill an animal. His measure would shield farmers from multimedia sabotage intending to expose animal rights abuses.

"They felt it was unfair for people to come onto a property without permission and do any kind of photography or recording," said Haluska. "It would be just like, you know, me coming to your house, walking in the door and recording what you do."

The state already has a law against trespassing on agricultural land.

Environmentalists have suggested it would protect more than farmers - they claim energy companies, too, could be protected from would-be documentarians, since drilling sometimes takes place on agricultural land.

Haluska said his proposal has nothing to do with that. It's been referred to a House committee.

Published in State House Sound Bites

Tagged under ,

back to top

Post a comment

Comments: 2

  • Robert Colgan img 2013-04-08 07:59

    These legislators are so far beyond sane it isn't even funny.


    Do they realize how UNCONSTITUTIONAL their proposal???--------how completely and totally a direct violation of citizens' rights their proposal is ??

    I urge that these legislators be remanded to the custody of any civics teacher for remedial education focusing on the Constitution and the Amendments-------and then throw them out of office.

    Doofuses shouldn't be in government.

  • Paul L Garber img 2013-04-08 16:39

    I am an amateur photographer. I enjoy photographing scenery in Lancaster County. That scenery often includes local farms and farmland. Another freedom is about to be taken from us.

Give Now

Support for WITF is provided by:

Become a WITF sponsor today »

Latest News from NPR

Support for WITF is provided by:

Become a WITF sponsor today »