ALDF: Taking Ag Gag to Court, Please Act Now

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The Animal Legal Defense Fund, along with PETA, has filed the nation’s first lawsuit against ag gag legislation, taking Utah to court for infringing on the free speech rights of activists, investigators, and journalists by criminalizing undercover investigations at factory farms.

Take action! Sign the petition to stop ag gag.

Watch Video below!

Utah’s ag gag law aims to prevent animal advocates and law enforcement from collecting evidence of egregious and illegal abuse of animals on factory farms.

Ag Gag & Animal Cruelty

Factory farms want to keep their cruel practices hidden from the public, but the public deserves the truth about how the billions of animals suffering on industrial farms are treated and whether or not laws are being broken that jeopardize food safety, workers’ rights, and environmental standards.

Shocking exposés from undercover investigations have revealed severe animal abuse on factory farms, like animals beaten, kicked, maimed, and thrown by workers. Industrial agriculture has also brought us the unsavory likes of ammonia and pink slime in hamburgers, antibiotic-resistant “superbugs,” chickens abandoned by the thousands to starve to deathpregnant and nursing pigs held in gestation crates that never allow them to turn around, and sick and downed cows dragged on the ground to become lunchmeat. Corporate agriculture’s massive profit ratio and proven inclination to hide in a dark world of secrecy makes journalistic and investigative freedom imperative to the well-being of animals across the nation—and to our own health and safety.

Journalistic Integrity

Utah’s ag gag law criminalizes free speech. That is why the Animal Legal Defense Fund is joining with journalists Will Potter and Jesse Fruhwirth; Daniel Hauff, an undercover investigations consultant specializing in factory farms; the political journal CounterPunch; and professor James McWilliams, as plaintiffs in the lawsuit.  “There’s a long history of investigative journalism in this country based on exactly the type of research and whistleblowing that these laws criminalize,” Will Potter explains. “Ag gag laws make it impossible to report stories that are vitally important to the public.”

Utah activist Amy Meyer is also a plaintiff in the case. In February, Amy made headlines by videotaping the operations at Dale Smith Meatpacking Company in Draper, Utah from the roadside. Amy was charged under Utah’s ag gag law—making her the first person in the nation to be prosecuted under an ag gag law–although the charges were dropped after public outcry.

Ag gag laws aim to control our behaviour by instilling fear of prosecution. This is legally known as the “chilling effect” because it intimidates people from acting and gathering information—even in legally-protected ways.  Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam recently vetoed a proposed ag gag law after the Tennessee Attorney General called the bill “constitutionally suspect.” Erwin Chemerinksy, a professor and dean of the law school at the University of California, Irvine, and a leading scholar of U.S. constitutional law, has weighed in in support of the lawsuit, explaining, “The Utah law is very much directed at restricting speech, and especially particular messages.  This is exactly what the First Amendment prohibits.”

More Information

News Link:-http://aldf.org/cases-campaigns/features/taking-ag-gag-to-court/

First Person Charged with Violating Ag Gag Law

Published on 22 Jul 2013

Amy Meyer was the first person charged with violating an ag gag law, for simply filming a slaughterhouse from a public road in Draper City, Utah.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund has filed the nation’s first lawsuit against ag gag legislation, taking Utah to court for infringing on the free speech rights of activists, investigators, and journalists by criminalizing undercover investigations at factory farms.

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Grandma Accuses Granddaughter of Kicking Dog To Death

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“WTF…How on earth can this girl not face charges of animal cruelty? At 14 years old she knew what she was doing, therefore should face the consequences. If nothing is done, expect to here more animal abuse cases, involving this girl!!”

Police in Ypsilanti, Mich., have opened an investigation into a possible case of animal cruelty following a woman’s report that her dog was killed on Sunday night, reported Monday’s Ann Arbor.com.

Few details have been released about the incident, but enough is known that it appears that family tensions are likely to be running high as the animal cruelty allegations are against the dog owner’s own granddaughter.

The dog, who is referred to as a puppy in the police report, was allegedly kicked to death by the 14-year-old granddaughter of the woman who owned the pup.

According to the report, the girl may not face charges. The police are, however, speaking to the family about what happened.

News Link:http://www.examiner.com/article/grandma-accuses-granddaughter-of-kicking-dog-to-death?CID=examiner_alerts_article

Ag-Gag Laws Almost Lead to a Prosecution in Utah

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First Ag-Gag Prosecution Almost Comes to Fruition in Utah

Amy Meyer was driving by the Dale Smith Meatpacking Company slaughterhouse in Utah when she decided to pull over and videotape what she saw: piles or horns littered across the property, cows being dragged across the grounds, one cow in particularly who appeared sick or injured being hauled off in a tractor “as though she were nothing more than rubble,” Meyer told the online paper Green is the New Red.

Meyer’s videotaping did not go over well with the slaughterhouse manager, Darrel H. Smith, the town mayor, who told her to stop. She made it clear that she was not on his property, and had every right to record anything she wanted.

At least that’s what she thought.

However, later on Meyer learned that she was going to be prosecuted under Utah’s new law (a law many people refer to as an “ag-gag law”) which is designed to prohibit undercover videos of farms and slaughterhouses.

The charges were eventually dropped, perhaps since Meyer was on the roadside, and not trespassing on private property (although Utah’s law is sketchy on those particulars). However, this brings to light the progress that these ag-gag laws have made over the course of the year.

Background on Ag-Gag Laws

Ag-Gag Laws aren’t that new. Kansas, Montana, and North Dakota all have had forms of this type of law in place for the last two decades. But in recent years more and more states are considering implementing rules that prohibit undercover videos of animal abuse. Much of this has come as a result of troubling videos made by groups like the Humane Society and Mercy for Animals. These videos were truly undercover, meaning that the videos were taken on the property of the farms (oftentimes by employees-turned-whistleblowers of the farm or slaughterhouse).

Most of the Ag-Gag laws don’t prohibit the ability to film from a roadside (like Meyer did). However, states are finding ways around this. For example, Pennsylvania’s proposed bill criminalizes anyone who “records an image of, or sound from, the agricultural operation,” or who “uploads, downloads, transfers or otherwise sends” footage using the Internet.

Tennessee’s bill passed, and is awaiting the governor’s signature. During the process, however, one state rep (Andy Holt) referred to the Humane Society’s use of undercover footage of animal abuse as no different than how human-traffickers use 17-year-old women. He claims that organizations like the Humane Society “seek to profit from animal abuse” using a “tape and rape” method.

Proponents of ag-gag laws share at least part of Holt’s sentiment. Proponents claim that if any animal abuse does take place at a facility, employees have the ability, and obligation, to report to authorities. Videos, they believe, do nothing but sensationalize the problem, and, in fact, those who videotape these abuses for use in supporting a cause are participating in the abuse. Those who videotape animal abuse ought to be required to submit the evidence to police, immediately, rather than to broadcast it to the world.

Opponents of ag-gag laws claim that employees are not likely to openly report abuses to authorities, because they aren’t quick to report themselves or their co-workers. Furthermore, opponents claim that these videos can be used later on as evidence of abuse, if formal charges are ever brought to light.

However, above all else, opponents of ag-gag laws claim that not being able to broadcast abuse severely limits their ability to inform the public of the truth. When people actually get to see and hear the abuse, they’ll realize the problem is far worse than they imagined. These images and videos might stir people into anger and, eventually action.

Currently Nebraska, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Vermont are considering ag-gag laws similar to that of Utah and Tennessee.

Well-known animal activists, such as Carrie Underwood, aren’t taken this ag-gag progress lightly. On April 18, soon after Tennessee’s bill passed, she tweeted this to her thousands of followers:

“Shame on TN lawmakers for passing the Ag Gag bill. If Gov. Bill Haslam signs this, he needs to expect me at his front door. Who’s with me?”

Well, who’s with her?

News Link:-http://www.allpetnews.com/ag-gag-laws-almost-lead-to-a-prosecution-in-utah

Jailed After Sister Turns Him In For Having Sex With Horse

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“Sick Pervert, if on-line records are correct then this twisted bxxxxd has been at it for a long time! Suggesting what ever punishment he received before, didn’t’ work!! These people can’t receive a slap on the wrist, I don’t care whether it’s a human or animal, rape is rape & should be tried in court as such; if he had been correctly jailed in 2006, the other animals wouldn’t have suffered!”

Hurricane, UT – William R. Burgess, a 55-year-old Utah man was jailed Wednesday after he allegedly admitted to having sex with a neighbour’s horse.

According to police, an investigation was launched after Burgess’s sister contacted authorities and told them that she had uncovered evidence that indicatedher brother had begun having sex with a horse.

William Burgess Charged With Bestiality

During a police interview, Burgess allegedly admitted to the deed.

Investigators say Burgess told detectives that he walked to a neighbour’s ranch with a bag of horse feed and a halter. Burgess used the horse feed to lure the horse close to him, then used the halter to keep the animal steady while engaging in sex with her.

Burgess was booked into the Purgatory Correctional Facility and charged with six counts of bestiality, one felony count of burglary, one count of theft and one count of criminal trespass. His next court appearance has been set for Nov. 19. “I have searched for hours & can’t find any details from that court date”

On-line arrest records also seem to indicate that Burgess was convicted of forcible sexual abuse in March, 2006.

William R. Burgess Jr. from the same rural county  is also listed in court records – but check out the birth dates If on-line records are accurate, it would appear Mr. Burgess’s penis has been wandering into uncharted territory from a very early age.

News Link:-http://whitewatch.info/2012/11/21/william-burgess-jailed-after-sister-turns-him-in-for-having-sex-with-horse-.aspx

‘Grown ups killed my kitty’: Boy, 8, writes heartrending letter to newspaper after his cat was euthanized by mistake

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An 8-year-old Utah boy wrote a letter to his local newspaper after an animal shelter worker failed to write a note to save his cat from being euthanized. 

‘Yesterday grown-ups killed my kitty, my best friend, when they weren’t supposed to,’ Rayden Sazama wrote, with his grandfather’s help, in his letter published in The Herald Journal, of Logan, on Thursday.

By Friday, it had received the fourth-most comments on the newspaper’s website – behind three letters about Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

Heartbroken: Brothers Rayden, 8, and Devin, 5, were left heartbroken when their black cat named Toothless didn’t return home, but Rayden says he was especially hurt to learn his neighbours had lied about its capture

‘I just wanted to tell people about Toothlessthat I loved him,’ he told The Associated Press through his father, Jason Sazama, on Friday. ‘And that people shouldn’t lie.’

Some berated the shelter for failing to keep the cat safe. Others criticized the family for letting the cat outside, failing to have it on a leash or not looking for the cat at the shelter sooner. Still others faulted the neighbours who had trapped the cat and denied having seen it when asked.

The cat roamed the cow pasture next door and often brought home ‘presents’ of field mice, but on Sept 28 he slipped out his kitty door and didn’t return home. By Sunday, Rayden and his five-year-old brother, Devin, were going door to door, asking neighbors if they had seen the cat.

Everyone said they hadn’t seen Toothless.

Jason Sazama checked the Cache Humane Society’s website but didn’t see any photos resembling Toothless. After two busy days on the road for work, he decided to swing by the organization’s shelter Tuesday to see if Toothless had turned up.

The shelter had already closed for the evening, but a worker allowed Mr Sazama inside, where Toothless sat in a cage. There was just one problem: Mr Sazama still needed to pay the impound fee at a government building that was also closed.

The worker assured Mr Sazama the cat would be fine, and he returned home, crowing: ‘I found Toothless! We’ll get him tomorrow.’

Adult’s mistake: Raden’s father, seen with him and his two younger siblings, said he went to the animal shelter to collect Toothless but was told the cat had mistakenly been killed

The worker assured Mr Sazama the cat would be fine, and he returned home, crowing: ‘I found Toothless! We’ll get him tomorrow.

But when Mr Sazama returned the next day, the receipt for his impound payment in hand, he discovered that Toothless had already been euthanized. The worker had forgotten to put a note on the cage.

The Cache Humane Society did not return a telephone message Friday from the AP. When reached by The Herald Journal, Director Brenda Smith confirmed Rayden’s story, saying the boy’s father had visited the shelter after business hours, when the worker was busy training another employee.

‘She let him in to look for the cat, but unfortunately, in training someone she forgot to leave a note on the cat’s cage,’ Smith told the newspaper. ‘I’ve just been sick about it, and so has she.’

Mr Sazama said he has no ill will toward the shelter.

‘I had to explain to my son that several adults made mistakes here,‘ he said. ‘The worker made a mistake, and I should have gone to the shelter sooner.’

Mr Sazama said he even understood why the neighbours trapped the cat; he hadn’t known that Toothless had been visiting the neighbours’ sandbox and leaving different kinds of presents there.

‘When Devin and I knocked on their door and asked if they had seen Toothless they told us no, and that was a lie,’ Rayden said in his letter. ‘My dad and mom tell me and Devin not to lie and that is right.’

‘Now I don’t know what to do,‘ the letter concludes. ‘My cat Toothless is dead; the people that killed him didn’t even give him to my dad so we could bury him. What do I do now?’

News Link:-http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2213683/Rayden-Sazama-Boy-8-writes-heartrending-letter-newspaper-cat-euthanized-mistake.html

 

Allergen concerns prompt turkey burger recall

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TURLOCK, Calif.

Misbranding and an undeclared allergen prompted a recall of 15,040 lbs. of turkey burger product from Foster Farms, according to the US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).

The product contains a seasoning mix with hydrolyzed soy protein, a known allergen that was not declared on the label. FSIS uncovered the problem during a routine label review, the agency said, “…and occurred as a result of the company receiving a spice mix from its supplier after an ingredient reformulation request by the company to have the hydrolyzed soy ingredient removed.

“The reformulation included soy, which was not declared on the turkey burger label,” according to FSIS.

Neither FSIS nor Foster Farms has received any reports of illness or adverse reactions from consumption of the product. The turkey burger was produced on various dates between Dec. 28, 2011, and May 10, 2012, and was sold for institutional use in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Washington.

News Link:-http://www.meatpoultry.com/News/News%20Home/Food%20Safety/2012/5/Allergen%20concerns%20prompt%20turkey%20burger%20recall.aspx

ALDF – Death & Agony: Wild Horse Roundup

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Help stop the Bureau of Land Management’s mistreatment of America’s wild horses!

Despite the public’s outcry against wild horses being run long distances in high temperatures during the height of summer, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) blazed forward with a plan to roundup 1,400 federally protected wild mustangs from Nevada’s Tuscarora region in Elko County in July 2010. Tragically, the roundup resulted in the death of at least 21 horses and several others being treated for painful colic and brain swelling due to dehydration and exhaustion.

Animal Legal Defense Fund

This horse is very frightened. Fear is evident when horses’ eyes are “wide and white,” i.e., when the whites of their eyes can be seen.
Photo by Elyse Gardner

Animal Legal Defense Fund

Many horses are injured just before entering the chute as they rear into bars above them in an attempt to escape.
Photo by Elyse Gardner

Animal Legal Defense Fund

This stallion was attacked by another stallion after being placed in a temporary holding corral.
Photo by Elyse Gardner

Wild horses forced to gallop down steep hill at Twin Peaks rounup

These horses are all stallions forced into a small enclosure during

The BLM is planning to repeat wild horse roundups in six westerns states this summer! Help stop this massacre of America’s wild horses! Contact your U.S. Representatives and Senators and urge them to:

Call on the Interior Department and President Obama to halt the BLM’s summer roundups; and

Use their appropriations authority to strip funding for this abusive practice while the National Academy of Sciences conducts its independent review of the program (to be completed by 2013).

Thousands of additional wild horses and burros are slated for removal in California, Colorado, Oregon, Nevada, Wyoming and Utah, paid for with your tax dollars.

Violating their own protocol of waiting until mid-August (after the foaling season) to begin helicopter roundups, the BLM started the Nevada roundup in July last year and is planning to do the same in 2011. Last year, adults and foals, some only days or weeks old, were chased up to eight miles over dangerously rocky and rugged terrain during the hottest part of the summer. In the winter of 2009, after being run over similar terrain, two foals suffered horrible deaths when their hooves separated from their leg bones.

While there is an ongoing debate around the reason for these summer-time gathers – the BLM claims it’s to protect the horses; wild horse advocates say it’s driven by helicopter availability, using taxpayer money before the end of the fiscal year and making public lands available for cattle ranchers – there is no question that the horses’ best interests should dictate the schedule and size of the roundup. Chasing mothers and their newborn foals across the desert during the hottest months of the year is clearly not protecting these majestic animals.

The BLM’s mismanagement must be stopped before another horse suffers and dies at the agency’s hands. Send a letter to your Representatives and Senators through ALDF’s website, demanding a moratorium on all summer roundups and stripping of all future funding for this abusive practice.

via Animal Legal Defense Fund.

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