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Sen. Jim Norman's ban on farm photography returns

It's been called an "ag gag" and an attack on "croparazzi." Whichever you prefer, Sen. Jim Norman's proposal to ban undercover farm photography is back.

SB 1184, which Norman introduced unsuccessfully in the 2011 session but refiled today, revises a few agriculture statutes before closing with similar language from his previous attempt to implement the ban. His bill would make taking audio, video or photography of farm operations without written permission from the farm owner a first-degree misdemeanor, with several exceptions for various state and local officials.

It's clearly directed at groups like PETA, which aims to expose animal cruelty practices on farms. One organization already paying careful attention this year is the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida.

"Once again, Senator Norman has sided with the owners of factory farms in Florida to prevent the public from learning how animals are treated inside intensive confinement facilities," said ARFF campaigns coordinator Nick Atwood in a statement. "The bill also does a disservice to Florida consumers. Recent undercover investigations at farms have led not only to important improvements in the welfare of animals but also in food safety."