Want to Find Out Where Your Food Comes From? Sorry -- That's Illegal
"Priorities?" begins David Grimm's deliciously droll editorial in the Miami Herald. "You ask about legislative priorities? Obviously, you refer to the insidious threat of pasture paparazzi -- the surreptitious skulks threatening unwitting barn animals."
Indeed, it appears that "pasture paparazzi" are a legislative priority, at least for State Sen. Jim Norman. The business of his Senate Bill 1246 is "prohibiting a person from entering onto a farm and photographing or video recording a farm without the owner's written consent." If the bill passes, photographing your neighbor's heifer will become a first-degree felony. Why? Because certain farmers feel threatened by hideous videos like this one, which document the genesis of our meatier meals:
Of course, it's already illegal to trespass on a farm or break into a barn. Senate Bill 1248 penalizes only those who are freely invited onto farms and then elect to photograph their surroundings. What's strange about the bill is that, as of now, it is perfectly legal for visitors to any building to take pictures if they wish -- the only exceptions are sensitive high-security areas, such as airports, photographs or videos of which might be used to aid terrorism. By any sane definition, showing the American people whence came their eats is not terrorism. Why should the first buildings in which photography is verboten be the very ones containing animals that will ultimately make their way into our GI tracts? Seems backward.
At the Herald, Grimm gets it just right:
Animals raised in factory farms live their short lives in such obscene cruelty, crammed in tiny spaces amid their own filth, pumped up with drugs, unable to exercise, or often just to turn about, that it would hardly do to allow the public to make a link between those awful conditions and Junior's kiddie meal.
Yep. It's just that simple. Sen. Norman wants to shroud the food-making process in secrecy because it's freaking gross. One hopes Norman's bill, like the videos he abhors, will inspire his fellow lawmakers to quote Olaf: "There is some shit I will not eat."
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