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Pa. lawmaker wants to ban hidden cameras on farms - abc27 WHTM

Pa. lawmaker wants to ban hidden cameras on farms

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LEBANON, Pa. (WHTM) -

They say looks can be deceiving -- and that's the basis of legislation to ban some hidden camera investigations in Pennsylvania. Case in point: an egg farm in Lancaster County.

Secretly recorded video seemed to show chickens suffering in overcrowded conditions at Kreider Farms in Manheim. The Humane Society called it abuse, but state inspectors said the farm met industry standards.

Now, state Senator Mike Brubaker says this kind of videotaping should be considered criminal.

"I want to make sure that the right authorities get in and document what's really occurring as opposed to pictures that may or may not be valid," said Brubaker.

The Humane Society of America said Brubaker is trying to punish people seeking to expose harsh conditions.

However, those who take photos don't always have the whole story, Brubaker said. He said animal abuse claims against Kreider Farms were not valid and noted that the egg farm passed three inspections once the footage was released.

Brubaker said similar incidents have happened in the area, so he wrote up Senate Bill 1596.

"If you go onto a farm without permission, and take pictures without permission, then the violation escalates to a third-degree misdemeanor," said Brubaker.

The Humane Society of America said Brubaker is punishing the wrong people.

"This bill punishes whistle blowers and endangers Pennsylvanians by hiding animal abuse, unsafe working conditions, food safety issues and environmental problems on industrial factory farms," spokesman Matthew Dominguez said in a statement.

"I'm interested in protecting animals," said Brubaker, "and the farms' ability to stay in business when they're doing nothing wrong."

"Nobody benefits from Sen. Brubaker's ag-gag bill, except those in the meat, egg, and dairy industries trying to hide their wrongdoing from the public," wrote Dominguez.

Brubaker introduced the bill last month, but no action was taken.

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