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House and Senate committees consider bills that would make it a crime to secretly photograph animal facilities

April 7, 2003
By: Elizabeth Gill
State Capital Bureau

Supporters of similar House and Senate bills that would make it illegal to secretly photograph animal facilities say they've got nothing to hide. Elizabeth Gill has the story in Jefferson City.

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The bills have come under the attack of organizations like the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Ledy Vankavage of the ASPCA says these bills would allow unsanitary conditions to persist at animal facilities.

She says if the facilities are clean and well run, they should have no problem with the photographs or videos:

Actuality:
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Contents: "What do they have to hide that you wouldn't want a photograph taken? I really don't get that."

But kennel owner Beverly Wilmesher says the issue is privacy:

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Contents: "There are responsible breeders out there with good, clean facilities with nothing to hide, but their property is private to them."

A House committee has voted to pass one of the bills onto the floor.

From the State Capitol, I'm Elizabeth Gill.


The Missouri Association of Cattlemen says the House and Senate bills that would make it illegal to secretly photograph animal facilities are about keeping animals disease free. Elizabeth Gill has more in Jefferson City.

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Organizations like the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals say the only organizations in support of the bills have something to hide.

But Chris Buechle, the executive vice president of the Missouri Association of Cattlemen, says the bills would protect producers from the spread of disease.

He says people like photographers who are not accustomed to being around livestock do not understand that they can contaminate herds accidentally.

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Contents: "There are some that think that by being a supporter we are trying to support the bad doers and the people that aren't taking good care of their animals and that is not our intention at all."

Buechle says the bills are meant to help prevent outbreaks like Foot and Mouth that have been financially devastating in other countries.

From the State Capitol, I'm Elizabeth Gill.


The Missouri Pork Association says separate House and Senate bills that would make it illegal to secretly photograph animal facilities are about trespassing violations, not privacy. Elizabeth Gill has more in Jefferson City.

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Organizations like the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says supporters of the bills are trying to hide bad facilities.

But Don Nilodim from the Missouri Pork Association says the bills are not about giving farmers something to hide behind.

He says the bills are about biosecurity and protecting the animals from the transfer of disease.

And Nilodim says anyone who is taking photos without permission is breaking the law and threatening animals.

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Contents: "no matter what reason your on somebody's property without permission is a real health issues for livestock producers."

A House Committee has passed one of the bills to the House Floor for debate.

From the State Capitol, I'm Elizabeth Gill.


Supporters of separate House and Senate bills that would make it illegal to secretly photograph animal houses say they've got nothing to hide. Elizabeth Gill has more in Jefferson City:

Story:
RunTime:
OutCue: SOC

The bills have come under the attack of groups like the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Spokesperson Ledy Vankavage says these bills would allow poor consditions at animal faciltiies to persist:

Actuality:
RunTime:
OutCue:
Contents: "What do they have to hide that you wouldn't want a photograph taken? I just don't get that?"

But kennel owner Beverly Wilmesher says the issue is privacy:

Actuality:
RunTime:
OutCue:
Contents: "there are responsible breeders out there with good, clean facilities with nothing to hide, but their property is private to them."

And Chris Buechle, the executive vice president of the Missouri Association of Cattlemen says the issue is about trespassing and keeping animals disease free.

He says people who are not accostomed to being around livestock can contaminate herds accidentally.

And Buechle says the bill is about enforcing stricter trespassing laws.

He says people who are taking pictures without permission are trespassing in addition to endangering the animals.

From the Ste Capitol, I'm Elizabeth Gill.