Drones to Help Uncover Hidden Abuse at Farms

Posted by Betsy Lillian on June 24, 2014 No Comments
Categories : Applications

A man is getting assistance from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in exposing the hidden and often abusive – for both the animals and the environment – at factory farms in the U.S.

Will Potter – a Washington, D.C.-based journalist, animals-rights activist and environmentalist – has received, as of June 24, almost $40,000 through the Kickstarter fundraising website. This will cover not only the cost of the UAVs, but also other costs such as traveling and producing a documentary, according to a report on Salon. His campaign is entitled “Drone on the Farm: An Aerial Exposé.”

Potter told Salon that he is not yet sure how exactly he will go about this project – especially without getting in trouble with the law – but that he has gotten strong support and reached his $30,000 goal within a mere five days. However, he adds that there are many rules he will “have to be very sensitive to.”

Some states have what are called “ag-gag” laws, which can prevent activists such as Potter from investigating: In Idaho, it is reportedly against the law to make public any video taken of a farm’s operations without the permission of the farm owner.

Therefore, Potter expressed to Salon great interest in uncovering Idaho’s “draconian attempts to keep the public in the dark,” as the ag-gag laws were reportedly written right after a video surfaced of workers abusing cows at a farm in the state.

He makes it clear that he will not be trespassing on any farms and will follow the Federal Aviation Administration’s rules for UAVs, so because the work will involve aerial photography, he will focus more on the environmental issues: the visible pollution from farms, such as waste and water runoff, which can easily be viewed from above.

The full Salon report and interview can be found here.

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