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Utah Prosecutors Drop First Charges Brought Under “Ag-Gag”

The first known charges ever brought under a state “ag-gag” law were dismissed Tuesday in Utah.

The would-be offender was 25-year-old Amy Meyer who last Feb. 8 was using her cellphone camera to film the Dale T. Smith and Sons Meat Packing Co. in Draper, Utah from public sidewalks.

Meyer said she began using her cellphone camera after observing instances of animal cruelty, but never left public property. Her presence was apparently reported to local police by the meat packing company as possible trespassing after she refused to leave the area.

Meyer, who plead not guilty, was charged on Feb. 19 with a class B misdemeanor for agricultural inference under the Utah animal protection law adopted last year, but Draper Prosecutor Ben Rasmussen dropped all charges against the young woman Tuesday.

Rasmussen said he dropped the charges after reviewing new evidence that came forward during an April 18 hearing that included video footage showing Meyer was on public property at least part of the time. Other footage was too ambiguous to proceed with any charges against Meyer.

Rasmussen said the initial charge was based on the report of a police officer responding to the incident.

Meyer is a self-described animal welfare activist and vegan. The case would have been the first prosecuted under Utah’s one-year-old “ag-gag” law, and possibly the first prosecution under any of the six state “ag-gag” laws adopted since early 1990s.

Draper is a 30-square mile city of just over 42,000 people located about 20 miles south of Salt Lake City along the Wasatch Front.

Dale T. Smith and Sons Meat Packing experienced E. coli O157:H7 contamination last August, prompting a recall of 38,200 pounds of various beef products including primal and sub-primal cut.

The Utah “ag-gag” law prohibits taking pictures or shooting video on private property without permission of the owner.

© Food Safety News
  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1303543898 Marge Mullen

    Thank you Amy for standing up against abuse!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Lisa-Norman/100000151556184 Lisa Norman

    ” Utah animal protection law” that’s rich, she was filming a downed cow. It’s against the law to slaughter “downed” animals. It’s no wonder this plant had an Ecoli contamination & recall.

  • Lisa Dupray

    and guess what! this has been going on forever! If people told other people this could be seen from the road, more people know already! No One makes them stop! No One charges them for breaking laws! HMMMMM…wonder who shoves this public information under the rug inside of their plant. Who gets away with hiding the truth to keep them in business and continue getting away with this? Just who is supposed to be going in there and doing something about all of it? One Ecoli recall? ha ha ha – if you only knew the half of it with Dale T Smith and Sons meat packing! I am a meat eater but if this place supplied my meat, I would not eat it! It is bigger than downed animals which is too sickening to even think about! Can you imagine the hearts of the people that see this every day by working there? Talk about some great human beings! We need more publicity about them and any other place that behaves like this!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Elizabeth-Dana/1090073957 Elizabeth Dana

    Yes There is an America Home of the Brave and Land of the FREE!!!! Free Speech. If that company did something wrong in treating animals AND is poisening the meat with feces it should be FILMED in 3D at an IMAX with Tom Vilasak pointing out the violations with a Laser Light Pen!!!!!!!!!!! And Good Old Utah should be passing out free popcorn and chocalate milk!!!!!

  • Scotty

    People worry about the food they eat but trust the “science” of the labs that make your prescription drugs safe! Google MPI Research and read about the “science” of drug safety. As bad or worse in those labs as what that young lady filmed from the street.