Tennessee lawmakers pass bill on photos, videos

Published on: Apr 25, 2013

Both chambers of the Tennessee legislature have now passed a bill that would require anyone who films or photographs animal cruelty to report the incident and submit the images to law enforcement authorities within 48 hours. 

The bill passed the senate last week (Feedstuffs, April 22) and later passed the house by one vote. It now awaits a decision by Gov. Bill Haslam to sign it into law or veto it.

Opponents are lobbying hard for him to veto the legislation, with country music singer Carrie Underwood sending tweets that are scolding of the legislature. "Shame on TN lawmakers for passing ag gag bill," she said in one tweet, warning that Haslam should expect her "at his front door" if he signs the legislation.

The bill is one of several similar bills that are being or have been considered in state legislatures across the country this year. Bills have failed in California, Arkansas and Wyoming but are moving forward in Indiana, Nebraska and Pennsylvania.

Critics have said the bills, which they've labeled as "ag gag" bills, would prevent animal activists from recording secret videos of animal abuse on livestock and poultry farms, but supporters have said those videos are edited so heavily that they can misrepresent animal treatment and, where there is abuse, perpetuate continued mistreatment for days or weeks until videos are released.