House Bill 1104 which was introduced this month to the Washington state House of Representatives by Republican Rep. Joe Schmick has been raising much controversy with both farmers and animal rights activists across the state. The proposed bill would make activities such as taking unpermitted film or audio recordings on an agricultural production facility a gross misdemeanor, which could result in up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine. Citizens would be unable by law to collect evidence of agricultural animal abuse on farms within the state.
The bill’s architect claims that collecting and sharing evidence of abuse could harm the economic productivity of agricultural businesses. If passed this bill would be punishing advocates who had the intent of shedding light on unethical agricultural practices. It would simultaneously be putting more power into the hands of agricultural corporations to ignore set policies regarding farm animals.
Please call Rep. Brian Blake, the chair of the House Agricultural Committee, and voice your concerns regarding HB 1104.