Missouri Representative Again Introduces Proposed Ban on Photographing Animal Enterprises, Knowingly Introducing Diseases

In March, Missouri State Representative Jim Guest for the third year in a row introduced a bill in that state’s legislature that would make it illegal to take unauthorized photographs of some animal enterprises.

The bill would modify a section of Missouri law making it illegal to,

Without the express written consent of the animal facility, photograph, videotape, or otherwise obtain images from a location within the animal facility that is not legally accessible to the public;

[And/or]Intentionally or knowingly release or introduce any pathogen or disease in or near an animal facility that has the potential to cause disease in any animal at the animal facility or that otherwise threatens human health or biosecurity at the animal facility.

The second provision, on the intentional release of pathogens, is a concern that animal rights activists from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals helped create when both Bruce Friedrich and Ingrid Newkirk made public statements in 2001 hoping that Great Britain’s foot-and-mouth epidemic would afflict farm animals in the United States as well.

Newkirk said at the time, that,

I openly hope that it [foot and mouth disease] comes here. It will bring economic harm only for those who profit from giving people heart attacks and giving animals a concentration camp-like existence.

While Friedrich wrote in a letter a few weeks later that,

I suppose if it happens [an outbreak of foot-and-mouth in the United States], we’ll write a massive thank you note because it’ll turn a massive amount of people into vegetarians

Though why people would turn to vegetarianism over a disease that, except in very rare instance, effects only non-humans and even then simply causes a mild illness is a mystery (the problem the disease causes is almost exclusively economic for farmers, and is endemic in much of the world without any adverse health risks to human beings other than slightly higher costs for meat).

But why the ban on photography? Guest says it is needed to secure Missouri farms and breeders from animal rights extremists and potential bioterrorists. He told the St. Louis Dispatch,

We’ve been fortunate that we have not had a threat to our food security. We have the safest food supply in the world, and the intent of this legislation is to strengthen those statutes we have and protect that.

Meanwhile, Brenda Kemp, president of the Missouri Pet Breeders Association, said the bill would help deter trespassing on farms and other animal enterprises,

You have no idea where they’ve been or what they’re tracking in. With a kennel you have to be extremely careful with who you let on your property because you can bring in disease so easily.

Frankly, I think the ban on photography makes little sense when what seems to really be needed is simply a strengthening — and perhaps more enforcement effort — of existing trespassing laws. A ban on photographing animal enterprises from publicly accessible areas is simply a bad idea. A better idea is larger fines and other remedies targeted at people who trespass on private property to take pictures that are not obtainable from publicly accessible areas.

The full text of HB 666 can be read here.


Animal protection groups blast farm photograph bill. Jacob Luecke, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, March 29, 2005.

Animal Rights Aristocrat Erects Monument to Animals Slaughtered in Foot-and-Mouth Epidemic

The Scotsman reports that the Duchess of Hamilton, who the paper describes as “a high-profile animal welfare campaigner”, has erected a 10-foot stone memorial to the animals killed during the 2001 outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in the United Kingdom.

The government relied largely on a strategy of slaughtering all animals within a 1.5 km radius of any confirmed presence of foot-and-mouth disease. Millions of animals were killed and their carcasses burned in an effort to stop the spread of the disease.

The Duchess of Hamilton’s memorial features a plaque that reads,

This memorial is dedicated to all the animal needlessly slaughtered in the foot-and-mouth crisis. We remember the persecution of the animal kingdom and the trauma inflicted upon our countryside. We resolve to work towards a more respectful, harmonious and sustainable relationship between the animal and human kingdoms. We resole to ensure that such an outrage will never be allowed to happen again.


Duchess unveils foot-and-mouth memorial. Christopher Claire, The Scotsman, June 15, 2003.

Report on Foot-and-Mouth Outbreak Faults Department's Contingency Planning

The Public Accounts Committee released a report in March on the 2001 outbreak of foot and mouth disease in the United Kingdom which faulted the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ (DEFRA) for failing to have adequate contingency plans in place to deal with such an outbreak.

The last major outbreak of the disease had occurred in 1967, and in the intervening years lessons from that outbreak were lost or not followed in dealing with the 2001 outbreak.

DEFRA had considered the risk of an outbreak of foot and mouth disease low and its contingency plans assumed that there would be at most 10 affected farms at any one time. In fact, in the 2001 outbreak there were 27 farms that were initially affected by the outbreak.

Moreover, the it waited far too long to call in the Army to handle the outbreak — an error which also amplified the problems involved with the 1967 outbreak.

The report estimates that the outbreak cost Great Britain upwards of 5 billion pounds. Had the Army been brought in to enforce an immediate nationwide ban on livestock movement, the report estimates that the cost to British taxpayers for cleanup and compensation would have been only 1.5 billion pounds rather than the 3 billion pounds the government eventually ended up paying.

Additionally, the plan that the government finally put into place to deal with the outbreak focused on protecting the agricultural industry, but the majority of the financial losses were from the tourist industry after limitations on the movement of people were put in place. The report says that the blanket closure of footpaths for long periods of time was unnecessary and should not have been allowed.


Public Accounts – Fifth Report. Public Accounts Committee, March 5, 2003.

FMD Epidemic of 2001 – costs and lessons. American Association of Swine Veterinarians, March 17, 2003.

Farm disease errors ‘inexcusable’. The BBC, March 14, 2003.

Foot and Mouth Panel Recommends Vaccination

A panel set up by the British government to study the recent foot-and-mouth outbreak in the United Kingdom released its report in July. It criticized the government for not acting more quickly to bring the outbreak under control, and recommended that in the future the government vaccinate animals on farms near any outbreak.

The British government relied exclusively on a strategy killing both diseased animals and all livestock within a 1.5 kilometer radius. More than 4 million animals were slaughtered during the 11 months that the disease spread among British livestock.

The Royal Society report recommends killing diseased animals and vaccinating nearby animals. But that strategy was rejected because of fears that it would result in a long-term ban on British meat exports. The problem with existing vaccines is that vaccinated animals can be carriers of the disease even though they do not show any symptoms.

Countries which are free of the disease, such as the United States, generally require that imported meat be certified as free of foot-and-mouth. A vaccination strategy would prolong the term that such countries would ban the import of British meat. In fact, ironically the report recommends that European Union countries strengthen their regulations on meat imports.

The Royal Society report criticized the government for not banning the movement of farm animals quickly after the epidemic started, and urged the government to create regulations that minimize the movement of farm animals in general. The report estimated that a three day delay in stopping the movement of livestock probably doubled the number of animals that had to be killed.


Foot-and-mouth’s painful lessons. Alex Kirby, The BBC, July 16, 2002.

Scientists call for vaccination strategy. The BBC, July 16, 2002.

British Farm Convicted on Nine Counts Related to Foot and Mouth Disease Outbreak

British pig farmer Bobby Waugh was convicted this week on nine of 15 counts he had been charge with in relation to the 2001 outbreak of foot and mouth disease in the United Kingdom. Waugh will face sentencing on June 28. Waugh could face up to 6 months in prison.

Waugh was convicted of five counts of failing to notify authorities of an outbreak of foot and mouth disease, one count of feeding unprocessed waste to his pigs, one count of failing to properly dispose of animal waste, and two counts of causing unnecessary animal suffering.

Waugh’s farm appears to have been the initial source for the foot and mouth disease outbreak. Waugh’s pigs apparently contracted the disease after he gave them feed that had not been properly processed.

Waugh claimed he had no idea his pigs had contracted foot and mouth disease, but a video introduced during the trial shows his pigs suffering from what is clearly foot and mouth disease.

By failing to report the disease outbreak promptly, Waugh allowed what would have been an extremely localized event to expand into a large scale outbreak of foot and mouth disease that cost British farmers as much as $3 billion.


Farmer kept quit about disease. The BBC, May 30, 2002.

British Government Says UK Officially Free of Foot and Mouth Disease

Great Britain this week declared that nation free of foot-and-mouth disease after 11 months battling the outbreak that cost more than 2 billion pounds. According to the British government, more than 4 million animals were slaughtered in efforts to bring the epidemic under control.

In Northumberland, the county where the outbreak began, there have been no new cases of the disease over the last three months, and tests on livestock have found no trace of the disease. It will still be weeks, if not months, however, before British meat exports kick back into high gear.

Such exports are highly restricted, and only allowed to European Union countries due to the foot-and-mouth epidemic. The Office International De Epizooties’ Foot-and-Mouth Commission will meet next week and may at that time decided to declare Great Britain free of the disease which would pave the way for a resumption of exports.


Farmers hail foot-and-mouth ‘victory’. The BBC, January 15, 2002.

UK to be declared foot and mouth free. Emma Young, New Scientist.Com, January 14, 2002.