This is a really interesting topic for local Utah photographers: The Ag-Gag Law. Utah is one of the few states that prohibits people to take pictures of local agricultural operations, including farms, ranches or slaughterhouses. Be warned, it is not only illegal to take these pictures, but if you are caught possessing them, you can be punished.
In fact, Amy Meyer is a woman who was charged for filming a slaughterhouse. She drove by the location in Draper, Utah and was astounded at what she saw so she started to video the scene from her smart phone.
After being told to stop by the property owner and the police, and saying she was in her right because she was on public property, a fact disputed, she found out she was being charged. This was the first prosecution of this kind of case in the country, so it went viral. The charges against Meyer were dropped because she was deemed to be on public ground.
This is the exception: the law only applies to photos taken while trespassing. That way, if a school group visits a local farm, or if you are on public property, there is no fear of the images captured during these visits.
The reasoning behind the law is to protect farmers, ranchers and food processors from unfair representation, while many people argue this will prevent journalism or animal-cruelty-whistleblowers.
Whatever the reasoning, Utah photographers should be aware of the limitations to their rights, especially when trying to find new or interesting locations to shoot.
What do you think? Is this law excessive or does this make sense?