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Crowd protests Utah Ag-Gag law

DRAPER, Utah (ABC 4 News) – Hundreds of people protested Utah’s camera ban around farm animals. A crowd gathered outside Smith and Son’s slaughterhouse May 18 in Draper from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
“I think criminalizing whistle blowers, the media, undercover investigations for people who are trying to report the truth about our food and about animal abuse is unconstitutional," -Stephany Alexander
DRAPER, Utah (ABC 4 News) – Hundreds of people protested Utah’s camera ban around farm animals.  A crowd gathered outside Smith and Son’s slaughterhouse May 18 in Draper from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Utah has outlawed the general public and workers from filming farm animals on private property where they’re housed.

The protesters are targeting Smith and Son’s slaughterhouse in Draper because on February 8 Amy Meyer was filming cows.

“I immediately turned on my camera when I saw cows being led into the building trying to fight for their lives out of the building,” she said.  “A manager immediately came out and confronted me and told me that what I was doing was illegal and I couldn’t be there. I told him I had every right to be there and I was on the public right away and I told him if he wants to call the cops that’s fine,” Amy Meyer continued.

Amy says at least six police officers filed a report and days later she was formally charged for allegedly stepping on private property and filming cows.  She denies stepping onto private property and a judge later dismissed the case because of a lack of evidence.

“I think the Ag-Gag law is absolutely atrocious and we have the right to know where food is being produced and what is happening to animals inside slaughter houses,” Meyer said.

ABC 4 Utah called the Department of Agriculture to ask about Smith and Son’s record.  Spokesman Larry Lewis says the meat processing facility is inspected daily and has a good record for animal care, but protesters say government oversight is not enough.

“I’m here because we have a right to know where our food is coming from,” said Amy Olson as she was protesting the Ag-Gag law.

The protesters say they want full transparency in and around meat processing plants.

“I think criminalizing whistle blowers, the media, undercover investigations for people who are trying to report the truth about our food and about animal abuse is unconstitutional, a breach of freedom of speech,” said protest organizer Stephany Alexander.
"...the public is being misled about our business by the protesters. Keeping animals free of stress and injury is in any meatpacking company’s best interest," -Dale T. Smith and Sons
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Below is a letter response from Dale T. Smith and Sons:
 
May 18, 2013

Statement by Dale T. Smith and Sons

Dale T. Smith and Sons respects the rights of this group to express its opinions. However, the public is being misled about our business by the protesters. Keeping animals free of stress and injury is in any meatpacking company’s best interest. At Dale T. Smith and Sons our animal handling and treatment practices are humane and responsible.

As business owners and family, we support and trust the law makers who are tasked with protecting the rights of all citizens. Recent events have made us aware of the need to secure and protect our property, employees and livestock. As responsible business owners and stewards of the agriculture industry we have and will continue to operate at the highest standards.

Respectfully,

Spokesperson

Dale T. Smith and Sons








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