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Texans Could Soon Be Jailed for Flying Drones Over Animal Factory Farms

Naveena Sadasivam: ‘Texans caught flying drones over… large animal feeding operations could face jail time if a bill that has cleared the House and Senate makes it to the governor’s desk in time. Critics of the measure claim it will have a chilling effect on citizens and journalists researching the environmental and public health effects of the oil and gas industry and large-scale animal factory farms. House Bill 1643, authored by Representative Drew Springer, R-Muenster, adds oil and gas drilling sites, telecommunications infrastructure and concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) — factory farms where animals are kept in confined spaces — to the state’s “critical infrastructure” list. The list currently includes dams, power plants, refineries, pipelines and other facilities considered a security risk…

Flying a drone lower than 400 feet above one of these facilities is a Class B misdemeanor and could result in up to 180 days in jail… Josh Winegarner, the director of government relations for the Texas Cattle Feeders Association… said the proposal will protect the food supply from biosecurity threats such as foreign animal diseases… but critics say the measure is a sneaky attempt to push back against environmental and animal rights advocates, who might use drones to uncover shady business practices’. SOURCE…

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