Ag gag law to be challenged in Utah

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Charges against the first offender of Utah’s “ag gag” law were dismissed by prosecutors in late April. Now PETA, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, investigative journalists and animal rights activists are filing a lawsuit challenging the law.

The charges of agricultural operation interference against a Utah woman who used a cellphone to record cows being slaughtered at a meatpacking company were the state’s first under the “ag gag” law. MSN reports prosecutors dismissed the charges as the video was shot from public property.

PETA announced Sunday it is part of a group of a group filing a “groundbreaking lawsuit challenging the law” claiming it is an unconstitutional attack on investigators’ First Amendment rights.

According to the sponsor of the law, its intent is to protect private property rights.

"It has nothing to do with animals — it's people trespassing on farms" to make recordings "they go put it on the Internet," Sen. David Hinkins, R-Orangeville, told the Associated Press. Hinkins is a cattle operator who also breeds race horses.

The law, passed in March 2012, targets animal rights activists who enter private property undercover to shoot audio or video of the livestock operations. Under the law, violators are charged with a class B misdemeanor.

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Michael J. Marsalek    
Bel Air, Maryland  |  July, 23, 2013 at 10:09 AM

Even though most Americans enjoy the end result, most of meat processing is unpleasant to watch. It is the inhumane treatment of the animals being rendered that Americans strongly object to. This is the responsibility of the USDA and when any of the animals are being regularly mistreated, it is being done under the ever watchful eye of the U.S. government. This begs the question; if the inspectors regularly allow cruelty to animals, what else are they let slide through in their inspections?

Chuck Smith    
Texas  |  July, 23, 2013 at 12:28 PM

The law allows the arrest for being on public property and filming. Ever hear of "The Constitution"? First Amendment? For that matter look up Fascism: “Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.” Benito Mussolini, Father of Facism. "It has nothing to do with animals — it's people trespassing on farms" to make recordings, said state Sen. David Hinkins, R-Orangeville, a cattle operator who also breeds race horses. "If people can sneak onto anybody's property, then we don't have any rights." GET THE POINT? dO YOU FLY A FLAG AND THINK YOU ARE A "Patriot"? Think again. Bet you hate "Big Gov." till it is YOUR "Big Gov." I am no limp wristed "Liberal", I just fight for "Liberty" yours and mine.

SD  |  July, 23, 2013 at 03:31 PM

People with the beginning philosophy that animals should not be eaten are not going to be honest in any question about procedures used in turning an animal into meat, period! Never mind that it's counterproductive to cause an animal stress at any point before it dies. Stress can cause the meat to be tougher, and to have an 'off' taste or flavor when cooked. That loses money for everyone who has had a part in raising, processing, distributing, wholesaling, and retailing that meat. Without some profit,we cannot remain in business. Of course, that is the goal of a few people. For the record, WHEN farmers DO make a profit from raising cattle, or any other food product, it generally is about 1.5 to 3% on our investment. Think about that! What kind of investment does it take to make what you who are NOT farmers make annually? Also, farmers receive about 16 cents of each dollar a consumer spends for food, and spends about ten to eleven percent of their income to buy food for their family. It used to be that the farmers' share for a loaf of bread was less than the cost of the package, but not sure if that still holds true.

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