Roy Exum: America’s First ‘Ag-Gag’ Victim

Saturday, May 4, 2013 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

The town of Draper City, Utah, finally became famous this week when Amy Meyer became the first American to be charged with violating the irreprehensible “Ag-Gag” laws that have sprung up around the country. In the state of Utah a person faces a Class A misdemeanor of “agriculture operation interference” if they record an image or a sound of such an operation without the owner’s permission, which is punishable with up to six months in jail.

What makes the story particularly juicy is that Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam has such a bill now awaiting his signature to become a law and several other states are also considering similar measures. “Ag-Gag”  laws – in essence – ban  evidence of animal abuse and prohibit covert efforts that help to assure livestock is not tortured and sadistically sored in a way that is shamefully still rampant in the Tennessee Walking Horse industry.

Amy – the real “victim” because she was charged instead of those abusing the animals -- was cited by police after she admitted she stood on public property and used her cell phone to film slaughters at the Dale T.

Smith and Sons Meatpacking Company, which just so happens to be co-owned by Draper City Mayor Darrell Smith. Here’s what she said on Kirschner’s Korner Radio:

* * *

“I visited the Smith Meatpacking Slaughterhouse in Draper, Utah because I have heard numerous reports that any bystander standing on the public thoroughfare could witness the horror of cows struggling for their lives as they were led to their violent deaths. What I saw was upsetting, to say the least. Cows being led inside the building struggled to turn around once they smelled and heard the misery that awaited them inside.

“I saw piles of horns scattered around the property and flesh being spewed from a chute on the side of the building. I also witnessed what I believe to be a clear act of cruelty to animals – a live cow who appeared to be sick or injured being carried away from the building in a tractor, as though she were nothing more than rubble.

“At all times while I documented this cruelty, I remained on public property. I never once crossed the barbed wire fence that exists to demarcate private and public property. I told this to the police who were on the scene.

“I am shocked and disappointed that I am being prosecuted by Draper City simply for standing on public property and documenting horrific animal abuse while those who perpetrated these acts are free to continue maiming and killing animals.”

* * *

Police were called after a slaughterhouse supervisor told her to leave and no charges of animal abuse were filed on any employees at the slaughterhouse. Draper City is about 40 miles from Salt Lake City, where the newspaper and thousands of citizens now realize the ‘Ag-Gag’ laws punish the wrong person. Draper City is also home to the Utah State prison.

Utah prosecutors, who could have put Amy Meyer in jail for six months, dropped all charges like a hot potato, presumably because she never trespassed on the slaughterhouse property, but animal protection advocates around the nation are outraged and are actively pursuing state leaders to amend, abolish or change the controversial laws. One California newspaper called the failed “Ag-Gag” bill in that state as “the food industry’s biggest PR gaffe since New Coke.”

“The intent of these bills is crystal clear,” said Matt Dominguez of the Humane Society of the United States this week. “They are meant to keep the American public in the dark about the animal abuse and cruelty going on behind closed doors.”

In Tennessee the legislature recently passed a law by one vote demanding citizens to surrender any evidence of animal abuse within 48 hours. News media outlets claim that such a law would be a violation of the First Amendment and a direct counter to the state’s Reporter’s Shield Law. Groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union, the United Farm Workers, the National Consumers League, the Southern Poverty Law Center and state AFL-CIO chapters oppose “Ag-Gag” laws.

The Humane Society of the United States even launched a $100,000 advertising campaign and Governor Haslam’s office has received many thousands of letters, phone calls and petitions asking he use his veto power. The bill was sponsored in Tennessee by a pig producer, Andy Holt (R-Dresden) and the co-owner of a stockyard, Delores Grisham (R-Somerville).

Over 60,000 have now signed a petition on Change.org against Ag-Gag bills and Governor Haslam has said this is the biggest outcry from the public since he was elected into office.

royexum@aol.com

AgGag Whistleblower Amy Meyer
AgGag Whistleblower Amy Meyer

How Valuable Is A Child's Life?

Blocking A Road Does Frighten People

Elect Tom Decosimo


If you support Trump after learning he will withhold funds from public schools unless the schools reopen on time then there is nothing anyone can say to help you realize the true nature of Donald ... (click for more)

Marie Mott is quoted as asking, “So you’re telling me blocking a road instills fear in the community?” Apparently she was seeking the approval of her peers; for a more objective answer, she should've ... (click for more)

As early voting in Hamilton County is about to begin, we should take careful note of the positions held by all those running for school board, regardless of district. Views held by those elected ... (click for more)



Opinion

How Valuable Is A Child's Life?

If you support Trump after learning he will withhold funds from public schools unless the schools reopen on time then there is nothing anyone can say to help you realize the true nature of Donald Trump. But if you care, research just a few of his past statements. “Like a miracle, the virus will disappear in the summer.” “The outbreak will be temporary.” “Coronavirus numbers ... (click for more)

Blocking A Road Does Frighten People

Marie Mott is quoted as asking, “So you’re telling me blocking a road instills fear in the community?” Apparently she was seeking the approval of her peers; for a more objective answer, she should've asked 'the community' instead. You know, the community -- those working, taxpaying folks who actually pay for and build the roads, public buildings, private homes, etc. The basic ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Protest Leaders Mott, Williams Face 2 Sets Of Charges On Sunday, Including Stealing Flag And Burning It

The two leaders of the ongoing nightly protests in Chattanooga were arrested on two different sets of charges on Sunday. Marie Mott and Cameron Williams were charged by Chattanooga Police with obstructing an intersection and blocking an emergency vehicle. Later in the day, they were charged by the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office in connection with taking the Sheriff's ... (click for more)

Hammond Says Several Suspects Under Investigation In Incident In Which Flag At Jail Was Taken, Burned

Sheriff Jim Hammond said "several suspects" are under investigation in an incident in which a Sheriff's flag was taken down at the County Jail on Walnut Street and later burned at Miller Park. He said, "The incident started at the jail and continued on to Miller Park. Rather than involve two agencies, the Sheriff's Office will take the lead on it." The sheriff said city police ... (click for more)

Sports

Sports Are Back: CFC Wins First Professional Sporting Event In Tennessee Since March

As the tallest player on the pitch, the Chattanooga Football Club’s towering and burly Ian McGrath rumbled down the pitch with aplomb, an inviting target for a pass five minutes into CFC’s 3-1 win over the Georgia Revolution. He graciously welcomed a sterling diagonal pass from fullback Richard Dixon, who was a good 20 to 30 yards away from McGrath when he let the pass go. ... (click for more)

Tee Times Announced For 2020 CWGA City Women's Amateur Golf Championship

The 2020 City Women's Amateur Golf Championship will be held on Tuesday at Black Creek Country Club. Listed below are the first round tee times. Hole 1 Name H.I. C.H. TEE 8:00 AM Ryon, Carlene 7.4 6 White-CWGA ... (click for more)