At first read, one might mistake AB 343 as a bill that encourages individuals to bring to light instances of animal cruelty and unsafe food practices. After all, any measure that creates a duty to report animal cruelty must be a step in the humane direction, right?
Unfortunately, wrong. At second glance, it becomes clear that this measure is designed to accomplish the exact opposite. If enacted in California, AB 343 would require any person recording animal cruelty to "submit all original photographs, recordings or video to law enforcement and the owner of the animal(s) or a representative of the owner within forty eight hours of taking such photographs, recordings or video." By requiring individuals to immediately identify themselves and put factory farms on notice as to potential law enforcement measures, this bill aims to end protected whistleblower activity by stopping the use of media to expose inhumane and unsafe agricultural practices. In short, it chills free speech, keeps consumers in the dark about the realities of factory farming and protects violators of the law.