Animal-rights activists are sneaking into barns to snap photos of penned-up pigs, freeing chickens from cages and vandalizing farm equipment.
In response, farm groups and rural law enforcement agencies launched a massive lobbyingeffort this year to push a bill through the Legislature to strengthen trespassing laws on farms and ranches. They did it in the name of homeland security.
Led by state Sen. Chuck Poochigian, a Fresno Republican who represents a giant swathof San Joaquin Valley farm country, supporters argued that animal rights groups could be infiltrated by terrorists trying to contaminate the nation's food supply.
Effective immediately, a trespasser on land or buildings where "cattle, goats, pigs, fowl or any other animal is being raised, bred, fed or held for the purpose of food for human consumption" can be fined $100 for a first offense and, for a second offense, up to $1,000 and sentenced to six months in jail.
Certainly, I can see the sense in not letting terrorists poison our nation's food supply. Therefore, I think it only makes sense to require all workers in these farms, slaughterhouses and other assorted food-production facilities be cleared by some government agency. Possibly the FBI or DHS?
It's just as likely that terrorists would attempt to infilitrate this industry by posing as honest workers. In fact, I think it would be even more likely that they would do so. Sure, you could attempt to break into a farm and slip a biological contaminent into the feed, but wouldn't it be better to work at that farm, earn a position of trust, and then introduce the poison? Odds are, you would be more effective, because you know exactly where the feed is going, and could make sure it is most effectively distributed. It's not like every act of terrorism has to happen right now. As an added bonus, you get to keep whatever wages you've earned.
Random acts are great, but the fact is, well-organized sabotage from the inside is the best way to bring down an institution. There's a reason companies need to worry more about the hackers in their employ than the script-kiddies trying to break in through the firewall.