Posted January 16, 2015
A Washington legislator is fighting for an “ag-gag” law, House Bill 1104, according to a Farms article available here. Capital Press also published an article available hereand Food Safety News here.
The law would make it illegal to record activity at slaughterhouses and farms without the owner’s permission and is sponsored by Reps. Joe Schmick (R-Colfax) and and J.T. Wilcox (R-Yelm).
If a person was found guilty, he or she could be sent to jail for up to a year and fined $5,000.
“I view it as a way to protect the farmer,” said state Rep. Joe Schmick, a Colfax Republican.
The bill has the same maximum penalty as Idaho’s law, because Schmick decided to file the bill after reading Idaho’s ag-gag bill.
Kansas, North Dakota, and Montana were the first states to adopt this law in the early 90s. Four more states have adopted similar measures since 2010, including Idaho, Utah, Iowa and Missouri, according to Food Safety News.
Animal-rights groups have opposed ag-gag measures in the legislative process and in federal courts, because they often use recording devices to collect evidence.
Four Californians were recently charged with violating Utah’s ag-gag law, but the court dropped the charges.