Posted on Wed, May 04, 2011 by Slow Food USA
19 Comments | Categories: Farms and Farming, Policy, Take Action,
Lawmakers are taking action to address the egregious conditions that exist at factory farms. But not to create laws to prevent future violations of food safety regulations, environmental quality standards, workers’ rights, and animal rights on the part of irresponsible farmers. Instead, legislation pending in
Iowa (and unsuccessfully introduced in Florida, New York, and Minnesota) would make taking photos of a farm a criminal act.
We live in a time when we’re not always aware of where our food comes from and how it grows. The bipartisan legislators in Iowa, Florida, New York, and Minnesota who proposed these laws charged that unapproved photos and videos misrepresent the realities of farming and damage the public perception of our nation’s food producers. But pictures don’t lie. Inhumane and unhealthy conditions are present in our food system, and keeping that information from the public won’t make them go away. We must come together nationally to stop this dangerous precedent of suppressing outrage against bad farming practices by suppressing the public’s right to see what they’re eating.
Even more outrageous is that the pending laws apply to photos of all farms—even those upholding good, clean, and fair farming practices. So how can we convince these legislators that they’re wrong? By sending a petition to the key legislators in each state, and also by flooding their offices with photos of real farms, submitted by people like you, from all around the country. Let’s show those lawmakers that we, the Farmarazzi, are taking a stand to safeguard our right to know what goes on behind closed barn doors.
So, to recap:
Step 1: Sign the petition. Even if you’re you don’t live in Florida, Minnesota, or Iowa, your voice matters. These state laws would set a dangerous precedent that other states may choose to follow.
We’ve been mailing photos to key legislators together with the signatures to the petition to encourage them to stop these senseless bills from passing.
Iowa: HF 589 /SF 431 could go to the Senate floor for debate any day. As of June 20, the legislature is many weeks overdue to adjourn but insiders say it’s likely that this bill will be addressed before the session’s end.
New York: On June 20 the legislative session ended before S 5172 was approved by the full Senate.
Minnesota: HF 1369 and SF 1118 failed to make it out of committee, and stalled due to inaction.
Florida: SB 1246 failed to make it through the Agriculture Committee.
Sign the petition, tell a friend, and help us flood state legislatures with photos that celebrate the openness and beauty of farms at their best—and in the process, send a message to those legislators that the public is watching.
[pics in this post are from Blackberry Meadows Farm near Pittsburgh, PA]