Charges dismiised in Utah Ag-gag case
Draper city prosecutor's office cited new evidence in the case against Amy Meyer for charges being dismissed.
Meyer was charged with a violation of Agricultural Operation Interference. It's a law designed to protect the agriculture industry from trespassers.
In the case against Meyer she was cited after video taping outside the Smith Meat Packing plant in Draper.
Meyer says she was recording when she saw a cow being carried on a bulldozer.
In February, Meyer was on the backside of the Smith's Meat Packing plant in Draper. She believed she was witnessing an act of animal cruelty.
“They were transporting it in a tractor to somewhere and you could see the cow moving around and being hauled away in this tractor and it looked like an act of animal cruelty,” says Meyer.
Draper police were called in and Meyer continued to record the police officer.
“Am I under arrest,” she kept asking the officer.
He said no and after several minutes of attempting to get her identification Meyer was allowed to go home and says she wasn't arrested nor given any citation.
A month later she was charged with trespassing under a new Utah law.
“I was very surprised because I knew I was in public right away and I knew police knew I was in public right away,” she says. “So I didn't understand why these charges would be held against me.”
The new law called “Ag-Gag” is designed to keep trespassers away from the agriculture industry.
Meyers would have been the first person prosecuted under the new law.
In the past, several acts of vandalism against fur and mink farms convinced the legislature to pass the law.
But activists like Meyer disagree with the law claiming its protecting animal processing plants from public scrutiny.
The video recording showed Meyer didn't cross a fence which marked the property line of the meat plant. After receiving a copy of the recording Draper’s city prosecutor dismissed the charges.
“I feel very fortunate for myself,” Meyer says. “I just worry about any future legal citizens trying to find out what happens in backyard that same thing might happen to them.”
Managers at the Smith Meat packing plant told ABC4 News they support the law but refused to comment about the case.
ABC 4 News received the following email from PETA, a national animal rights activist group: “Utah has been shamed for enacting this desperate "ag-gag" bill in the first place. These bills are doomed to fail, as the public wants more transparency in food production—not for state governments to help the meat industry cover up the grisly reality of slaughterhouses. PETA was glad to fund the legal defense of this brave woman, and we will now be exploring further legal action to prevent such attacks on decent citizens in the future.”