The Missouri Senate passed a bill (SB 631) late Thursday aimed at strengthening agriculture law, and while the bill may be a far cry from the “ag-gag” bill passed by state House of Representatives, it protects many aspects of the state’s agricultural industry, including a time limit for reporting photos and video of animal abuse.
The Senate voted 25-5 for the final passage of the bill, which was reported by Food Safety News as a “grab-bag” bill containing dozens of separate agricultural measures.
Under the new law, anyone with photos or video of animal abuse or neglect would have 24 hours to report it to law enforcement. Originally, the bill approved by the state House (HB 1860) in April would have criminalized undercover videos and prevented animal rights activists from lying on job applications or using false pretenses to gain access to a livestock farm or facility.
Similar laws were passed in Iowa and Utah this year. However, “ag-gag” bills were killed in Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York, and Tennessee. If SB 1680 is not brought up before today’s adjournment, Missouri will be added to that list.
SB 631 is an expansive agriculture bill, addressing many industry-related issues including:
- trespassing, both in definition and penalty;
- rights of property owner to repel a trespasser using “justifiable force;"
- biodiesel incentive payments;
- agriculture education in private schools;
- a right to raise livestock in conformance with state and local laws; and
- load limits on roadways.
Ag-protection bills are not unique to this generation. Kansas, North Dakota and Montana passed earlier version of “ag-gag” laws two decades ago. There is no record of these laws being used.
Speak out: Do you think “ag-gag” laws hurt or help agriculture?