Farmers Already Threatening to Shoot Down My Drone

by Will Potter on July 7, 2014

in Activism & Activists' Response,Surveillance

drone-farm-photoI haven’t even purchased the drone yet—my Kickstarter hasn’t even ended—and farmers are already threatening to shoot it down.

When I launched my Kickstarter to purchase a drone and photograph factory farms, I expected some backlash from the industry. Considering the wave of ag-gag laws that make photography of farms illegal, that was pretty much a given. I wasn’t too surprised to see industry groups use hyperbolic rhetoric, like comparing my drone to the “death star.”

But some people are already threatening to shoot down the cameras.

Here are a few examples:

  • “It’s going to be open season on drones by farmers with shotguns if he goes through with it.” — “I WOULD…WOULD YOU?”
  • “If a drone was to stop over my farm, I would exercise my 2nd amendment right to bear arms to protect myself and property.” — “William Chappell”
  • “If shooting down somebody’s model airplane, excuse me “drone”, gets me arrested…I’ll say it one more time….PULL!” — Anonymous
  • “At the right distance, drones probably look a lot like clay pigeons. Simple case of mistaken identity. Happy hunting folks.” — “Chick Master General”

Some of the other comments and hate mail I have received has been, um, interesting. One of my favorites was a comment at that the industry should “capture” my drones, “maybe launching a big net” or “throwing a bola-like device.”

It’s important to note, though, that even within the industry, people are speaking out against ag-gag laws and attempts to criminalize photography.

Chuck Jolley wrote in Drovers Cattle Network that the best thing farmers can do in response to my project “is mistake that hovering object for a bird and hope it’s duck season.”

But he went on to write about the “insanity of ag-gag laws.” “The real damage done by ag gag laws,” he says, “is the sense that animal agriculture has something to hide.”

And in Farm and Dairy, editor Susan Crowell agrees. She wrote about my project and said: “…to my farm readers, when will you realize that sharing information about your farm is as important as any other farm task you have today?”

Rather than shooting down my cameras, the agriculture industry would be much better off shooting down ag-gag laws.

Until then, part of my “reach goal” for the Kickstarter is to buy a second drone in anticipation of at least one being shot down.

Please help make that happen! The Kickstarter has just 48 hours left. And every new donation is being MATCHED dollar for dollar.

Click here to donate and help us meet our “reach goal,” so that we can purchase a second drone, and expand the project to more states!

Photo: Lima Pix via Flickr

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