Utah: Four Detained, Cited Under AgGag

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Read the full article here: Green is the New Red

Will Potter reports that four animal rights activists were detained by police after they took pictures of a hog farm from a public road. One of the activists, Bryan Monell spoke to Potter and reported that they were pulled over after being confronted by employees at the farm and the Sheriff demanded they turn over the pictures.

“He was really adamant about getting hold of our photographs,” Monell said. “He said, ‘There’s a thing called ag-gag out here. I’m not going to say whether I support it or not, but it’s serious. They don’t take kindly to that stuff out here.’”

Monell says they refused to hand over the pictures, but they did allow police to search their cars. In the end they were all given two citations, “one for criminal trespass, the other for “agricultural operation interference,” or violating Utah’s ag-gag law.”

Potter tracks harassment of animal rights and environmental activists at Green is the New Red. He reports,

[This is]… only the second time that an ag-gag law has been enforced, nationally. The first time was also in Utah. A young woman named Amy Meyer saw a sick cow being pushed by a bulldozer, and she filmed it from the public street. After a news report on this website about her prosecution went viral, prosecutors dropped all charges.

Utah is one of seven states to enact ag-gag laws that make it illegal to photograph factory farms and slaughterhouses. The laws are a direct response to a series of undercover investigations by animal welfare groups exposing horrific animal cruelty.

Right now ag-gag laws are being challenged in court as unconstitutional in Utah. A similar lawsuit in Idaho has the support of 16 differentprofessional journalism organizations along with food safety, whistleblower, and consumer groups.