Tell Legislators to Honor Free Speech about CAFOs in Pennsylvania

HB 683 would ban the recording of agricultural operations, posting any such recording on the Internet or sending it via any other medium, obtaining access to an agricultural operation under false pretenses, obtaining employment with the intention of recording agricultural operations, or trespassing on such operations.

Especially disturbing is the fact that this bill, if the language is interpreted broadly, could prevent filming of fracking operations. Most fracking—that is, hydraulic fracturing, a method of natural gas extraction employed in deep natural gas well drilling—occurs on leased farmland. According to the language of the bill, anything that takes place on that land would be similarly protected.

It’s clear the only reason for this legislation is to keep the public from seeing the shocking conditions that exist on CAFOs. If passed into law, this bill will protect large factory farms by making undercover investigations into animal care illegal. Those who report and expose cruelty to animals would risk huge fines.

Tell your legislator that being a whistleblower is protected speech under the First Amendment, and if farmers don’t want their dirty laundry aired, they should simply make their farms sanitary and treat their animals humanely. Rather than stop cruel treatment of animals, this bill will simply ensure that the public never learns about it.

Please personalize and add your own comments if you have time!

Recipients

  • Your State Senator or Senators
  • Your State Representative or Representatives

Contact

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Message

HB 683

Dear [Decision Maker],

As your constituent, I strongly urge you to oppose HB 683. It would ban the recording of agricultural operations, posting any such recording on the Internet or sending it via any other medium, obtaining access to an agricultural operation under false pretenses, obtaining employment with the intention of recording agricultural operations, or trespassing on such operations.

This bill would chill legitimate attempts to investigate animal cruelty and expose the grossly unsanitary conditions present at factory farms. This legislation attempts to diminish the public's ability to obtain information and undermines our First Amendment rights. Furthermore, this bill implies that there is even more to be concerned about on factory farms than previously thought. Passing these bills would be a disservice to both good farmers and concerned Pennsylvania citizens.

Wouldn't it make more sense to clean up the factory farms themselves, rather than trampling the rights of free speech and freedom of the press? Aren't whistleblowers to be applauded? Why should the state of Pennsylvania protect an industry whose practices are questionable at best, at the expense of a possible violation of the US Constitution?

This is a terrible bill, and supporting it will only endanger the health and well-being of your citizens who consume the food made from the animals kept in such an environment -- not to mention propagating the potential abuse of animals. Why should companion pets enjoy the protection of animal abuse laws, but food animals be subjected to the most inhumane conditions imaginable?

Equally disturbing is the fact that this bill, if the language is interpreted broadly, could prevent filming of fracking operations. Most fracking -- that is, hydraulic fracturing, a method of natural gas extraction employed in deep natural gas well drilling -- occurs on leased farmland. According to the language of the bill, anything that takes place on that land would be similarly protected.

Protect free speech in Pennsylvania. Please vote NO on HB 683!

Sincerely,
[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State ZIP]