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Updated 6/20/11
Lawmakers are taking action to address the egregious conditions that exist at factory farms. But not to create laws to prevent future violations of food safety regulations, environmental quality standards, workers’ rights, and animal rights on the part of irresponsible farmers. Instead, legislation pending in three states Iowa (and unsuccessfully introduced in Florida, New York, and Minnesota) would make taking photos of a farm a criminal act.

We live in a time when we’re not always aware of where our food comes from and how it grows. The bipartisan legislators in Iowa, Florida, New York, and Minnesota who proposed these laws charged that unapproved photos and videos misrepresent the realities of farming and damage the public perception of our nation’s food producers. But pictures don’t lie. Inhumane and unhealthy conditions are present in our food system, and keeping that information from the public won’t make them go away. We must come together nationally to stop this dangerous precedent of suppressing outrage against bad farming practices by suppressing the public’s right to see what they’re eating.

Even more outrageous is that the pending laws apply to photos of all farms—even those upholding good, clean, and fair farming practices. So how can we convince these legislators that they’re wrong? By sending a petition to the key legislators in each state, and also by flooding their offices with photos of real farms, submitted by people like you, from all around the country. Let’s show those lawmakers that we, the Farmarazzi, are taking a stand to safeguard our right to know what goes on behind closed barn doors.

So, to recap:

Step 1: Sign the petition. Even if you’re you don’t live in Florida, Minnesota, or Iowa, your voice matters. These state laws would set a dangerous precedent that other states may choose to follow.

Step 2. Join the Farmarazzi! Head out to a farm, take a photo, and if the farmer is available, spend a few minutes getting her perspective on the impact this legislation would have if passed. Then upload your picture to our Facebook wall (or email it to {encode=”campaigns@slowfoodusa.org” title=”campaigns@slowfoodusa.org”}) and take a look at what other people have posted there. You can also encourage your friends to “like” your photo—we’re working on a prize for the most popular shots. Although the contest is over (see a slideshow of winning photos here), you can share Farmarazzi photos on our Facebook wall any time.