A freelance photographer taking photos of a Kansas feedlot for National Geographic faces a charge of criminal trespassing.
The photographer, George Steinmetz, was taking aerial photos of the feedlot near Garden City for a series about food scheduled to publish in 2014 when a feedlot employee noticed the paraglider and alerted authorities.
The Associated Press reports Steinmetz and his paraglider instructor failed to obtain permission to launch a paraglider from private property and didn’t notify the feedlot of their plans. The two were arrested and kept in Finney County Jail for a short time before paying a $270 bond.
The incident raises questions about trespassing and if landowners own the air above them. The issue will face additional consideration as animal welfare and media groups are investing in unmanned aerial vehicles and drones.
Kansas Livestock Association spokesman Todd Domer told the Hutchinson News an unauthorized flying object circling the feedlot poses a food security issue for the facility, especially in a time where agri-terrorism is a threat.
A spokeswoman for the National Geographic sided with the freelance photographer and said the company would provide legal assistance if necessary.