Over the past few years, several states have introduced bills that would ban the undercover filming of animal agricultural operations. Several of these bills would, in part, make it illegal for a person to obtain access to an agricultural operation by false pretenses for the purpose of committing an act not authorized by the facility’s owners.
In a unique twist on this type of bill, Tennessee introduced HB 1191/SB 1248. These bills, as introduced, would require a person who records cruelty to animals as committed against livestock to report such violation and submit any unedited photographs or video recordings to law enforcement authorities within 24 hours of the photograph’s or recording’s creation. The bill was later amended to make it clear that it only applies to those intentionally filming or photographing for the intention of reporting abuse. The full language of the amended bill is below. We are interested in hearing your thoughts.
Tennessee HB 1191/SB 1248
(1)A person who intentionally records by photograph, digital image, video or similar medium for the purpose of documenting a violation of subsection (a) committed against livestock shall, within forty-eight (48) hours, or by the close of business the next business day, whichever is later:
(A) Report such violation to a law enforcement agency with jurisdiction over the alleged offense; and
(B) Submit any unedited photographs, digital images or video recordings to law enforcement authorities.
(2) A violation of this subsection is a Class C misdemeanor punishable by fine only.