By Associated Press and WSBT-TV
8:24 AM EST, March 1, 2013
INDIANAPOLIS — Addressing the belief by some that business concerns are being placed above animal rights concerns, bassist Tony Kanal of the group No Doubt is lobbying against a bill moving through the Indiana General Assembly that would ban videotaping at Indiana farms and factories.
A similar bill was passed in Iowa — where undercover video taken in the past few years at plants such as Hy-Line International has shown things like live chicks being fed into a grinder — and introduced in several other states.
Kanal, who lived in Indiana as a child, wrote Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma to say that the bill would stop whistleblowers from exposing animal abusers.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals circulated Kanal's letter Thursday.
Supporters of the measure say farmers and factory owners' names are besmirched on sites like YouTube by activists who film on their property.
Republican state Sen. Travis Holdman of Markle said his bill targets what he calls "vigilantes" who enter private property with the sole intent of obtaining undercover photos or videos. He told The Journal Gazette that many of those people are animal welfare activists seeking evidence of possible animal abuse.
Holdman said he filed the bill after hearing from a farmer in his district who said someone making a delivery took video with his phone and could not provide a reasonable explanation, the Indianapolis Star reported. Holdman said nothing happened to that farmer.
But a spokesman for Indiana-based Rose Acre Farms — one of the nation's largest egg producers — described a potential public-relations headache the company faced in 2010 involving undercover video.
Rose Acre's general counsel, Joe Miller, said the Humane Society of the United States posted a video on its website that shocked customers. That video, released at an Iowa news conference, was taken by someone who had gotten a job at two Iowa farms, one owned by Rose Acre and the second by another company.
Miller told members of the Senate Committee on Corrections and Criminal Law that soon after the video was made public, 50 customers called to say "they wanted to stop buying our eggs."
"That would have devastated our business," he said.
The Senate approved the measure 30-20 this week. It's now in the House.
The Senate modified the bill slightly to allow videographers a defense if they provide evidence of abuse to law enforcement within 48 hours of gathering footage.
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