Texas Criminalizes Drone Flights Over Factory Farms
June 1, 2017
In a move designed to silence those who seek to expose animal suffering, Texas has just passed a law that would criminalize low flying drone flights over factory farms.
House Bill 1643 contends that factory farming operations are “critical infrastructure” deserving of strict protections.
Those who operate drones over factory farms will now be guilty of a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to 180 days in jail.
Reacting to the news, Animal Equality’s Director of Investigations, Jose Valle, said: that “Much like ag-gag laws, this is just another attempt by the factory farming industry to hide the horrific reality inside these facilities from the public.”
While it is common for the FAA to restrict airspace over large sporting events and for sensitive facilities to have their own airspace restrictions, this Texas law goes far beyond that.
Scott Pitta, CEO of the Association of Professional Drone Pilots, was also surprised at the news. He said: “I’ve never heard of a factory farm being considered critical infrastructure. That’s new to me, as someone with over 20 years in the aviation industry.”
The move comes at a time when animals inside these disturbing facilities need witnesses to their suffering more than ever.
Undercover investigations have been threatened by ag-gag laws that target whistleblowers of animal rights abuses, and laws like this one are making it increasingly more difficult to expose animal cruelty in this industry.
Drones and other investigative tools help educate the public on what really goes on inside this secretive industry. As Paul McCartney famously said, “If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian.”