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Home / Articles / Views / The Highroad /  Ag biz gags on its own gag law
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Thursday, May 9,2013

Ag biz gags on its own gag law

By Jim Hightower

Amy Meyer was curious. Then she was appalled. Then she was charged with the “crime” of using a cell phone to video what appalled her.

Welcome to the Brave New World of “ag-gag” laws being pushed by agribusiness corporations to stop reporters, workers, animal rights advocates and even curious 25-year-old truth-seekers like Ms. Meyer from recording abuses that are routinely taking place on farm-animal confinement factories. Actually, these are the repressive laws of the “Cowardly New World” of industrial ag-biz, eager to keep its customers in the dark about what they’re doing to the pigs, cows, chickens, etc. under their care.

A resident of Utah, which passed its gag law last year, Meyer heard about some ugly doings at the Smith & Sons Meat Packing outfit in the town of Draper City, so she decided to take a look. Even from the public roadway, where she stood, the horror was easy to see, and she dared to document it with her camera. The corporate manager scrambled out to declare that she was trespassing, later claiming she’d crossed a barbed-wire fence onto corporate property. Cops were called, no such trespass was found, and she was released. But the corporation, whose owner just happens to be mayor of Draper, got city prosecutors to charge her with — ready? — “agricultural operation interference,” punishable by a six-month jail term.

However, thanks to a Web alert by Will Potter, author of a blog named “GreenIsTheNewRed.com,” global public outrage poured into Draper City, and in just 24 hours, prosecutors dropped all charges against Meyer — the first person in America to be charged under these ridiculous laws. Thanks to standup rebels like Amy, Will and thousands of freedom defenders, ag biz is choking on its own ag-gag scam.

To help fight this corporate repression go to www.change.org/AgGag.

Respond: letters@boulderweekly.com This opinion column does not necessarily reflect the views of Boulder Weekly.

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