Gwyn Headley

by Gwyn Headley

Managing Director

This is getting ridiculous.

Utah, the American state founded by Mormons, is banning the photography of farms and farm animals.

The bill is called HB187, and the Utah Senate passed it on a 24-5 vote. Then the Utah House approved the Senate amendments 62-13. The bill goes to Governor Gary Herbert for his signature of approval today.

No doubt it will pass, and become law, and we’ll have another of those quaint old statutes such as a Welshman caught on the streets in Chester after midnight can be hanged, London cabbies must carry a bale of hay in their boots, and you’re not allowed to photograph Trafalgar Square.

Now every rational human — and quite a few irrational ones — will be scratching their heads and asking, “What is that all about?”

Well, as far as I can ascertain, farmers in Utah are fed up with rogue photographers snapping images of their appalling, brutal, barbarous, inhumane and mediaeval practices. Of course, I could be wrong, but that’s the way it looks from this Atlantic shore. By depriving humans of their rights, the Utah legislature is allowing unscrupulous people to go about depriving animals of their rights.

Talking about mediaeval, those Mormons would have been denounced as heretics by the Spanish Inquisition. And everyone knows what happened to heretics. It was appalling, brutal, barbarous and inhumane. And nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.

Those Americans, eh? What are they like? They describe their country as the home of the brave and the land of the free. Not in Utah, it isn’t. What jolly japes will they get up to next? In the words of Cerys Matthews, longtime resident of the USA, “Every day, when I wake up, I thank the Lord I’m Welsh.”

And I’m not planning to visit Utah any time soon.

Or Chester, come to think of it.


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75 Responses to “More photography banned”

  1. J.D. says:

    On another website, someone posted more information about this bill, and it turns out that it mainly allows farmers to prevent unwanted photography by persons on their property – it’s certainly not the sweeping, draconian measure you suggest it is. If you want to go off on Farmers, Mormons, Americans, or whoever, you really should be more honest about the point of your rant, instead of misrepresenting events in order to “fire up” a target audience (photographers, in this case).

  2. Ric says:

    Perhaps they are trying to prevent the spread of farm animal pornography across the state… hahahaha!!

  3. Mike Reed says:

    Hi Gwyn, You are very welcome to visit Chester, I say this as a relative newcomer having only lived there for 39 years. I was not born within the “Walls” so am not a true Cestrian, and as far as I know not many of my Welsh friends are worried about visiting Chester. I do wonder where all this anti-photography hype is going?.

  4. Banning photography of farms and farm animals is barmy!

  5. George Sampford says:

    I despair with any religious (so called) demands. How on earth any person can believe such crap is beyond me, whatever religious following they take. Is this not the very reason the world is in such turmoil? The sooner people realise that religion is a complete con’ the better, we can then simply respect each other as merely human animals.

    • Martin Broadfoot says:

      Dear George

      I suggest that the issue is about farmers lobbying politicians to cover the unsavoury practices of the farmers. It is NOT about religion, and I would further suggest that this blog is not an arena for you to air your rampantly atheist views.

  6. Mike Mumford says:

    Yes, we are all God’s Human Animals at worst with no empathy. At best we share common sense.
    Let’s change the law of copyright and public property: as farmer/archive/museum owns his animals unique image or any other image, as his own property indefinitely, or with a time limit, or free to all?
    Let’s change the law of copyright and public property: I can construct an image, as an author having exclusive copyright for my lifetime and beyond the grave for the next 70 years, or free to all?
    Let’s change the law of copyright and public property: to a maximum of 50 years for commercial use, with 50% Royalties going to an image linked charity, or free to all?
    Let’s change the law of copyright and public property: to be fair to all, the public, commercial interests and the author, free use to all?

  7. Mick Sargent says:

    I could comment at length about this, Gwyn, from the position of photographer, animal lover, human AND animal rights respecter and a person who has never been a great lover of America……..home of hypocrisy, creationism, overt goddiness, gun worship, ad infinitum, though of course they did win The Battle of Britain and at Agincourt. Didn’t they?
    I won’t add more, because you have summed it up well. I too, won’t be in a rush to visit America. Perhaps Chester is due another visit though.

  8. Tom C says:

    If my memory serves me correct this is a response to animal rights people sneaking onto private farms in an effort to get pictures of what they feel are farmers mistreating animals so they sneak onto everybody’s farms and video tape them>it has nothing to do with regular photographers or the Mormon religion

  9. Derek Metson says:

    As a veteran of demos against live exports through the port in our little home town in 1995, I am very well aware of the sort of practises many dealers and some farmers get up to in this country. We have little to be proud of. Leading politicians of both main parties supported the nasty practises, encouraging heavy handing policing (remember the granny bashing comments in the papers at the time?).
    Sadly, I was without a camera at the time, because I could have got some real nasties. The worse was throwing 3 days old calves onto the export ship from the dockside. Those of us who saw that were where we probably shouldn’t have been! Aren’t the newspapers now arguing about ‘public interest’?
    Those doing unsavoury things will always want to cover up their activities. I hope the America animal rights people keep on getting in and working for public interest!