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


The, Saturday, May 04, 2013 – by Roy Exum

image001The 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:

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AgGag Whistleblower Amy Meyer

AgGag Whistleblower Amy Meyer

“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.”

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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 against Ag-Gag bills and Governor Haslam has said this is the biggest outcry from the public since he was elected into office.

AUTHOR: Jerry Finch
  • BlessUsAll

    Amy, your courage in witnessing the horrors and in refusing to back down from your right to stand on public property while documenting those horrors makes me so proud of you. You are a true hero. Bless you and your (adopted?) canine companion, whose sweet face is as beautiful as your big heart is beautiful!

    Yay, Amy! May your honorable act set Ag-Gag- overturning precedent around the country.

    May 6, 2013
  • Amy Miller

    This is horrible, I live not far from Draper, Utah. Those poor cattle need to have a voice and Utah won’t let them have a voice because of some stupid, ridiculously, cruel law.

    I want this to be stopped and for animals to have more of a voice. That sounds sad for those cows.

    Who do I call here in Utah to complain?

    May 6, 2013
    • Gracemarie Elliott

      Draper Utah must be a Nasty Place, However the charges were dropped because the woman was on Public Property.

      Finally the public is realizing, what is really happening with the passage of this nasty ag-gag bill.

      It protects the Factory Farmer, you know Big Agribusiness who are “KILLING AMERICA WITH CANCER” go to PhysiciansCommitteeForResponsibleMedicine or, go to Dr. Joel Fuhrman and Eat to Live, go to Dr McDougall and The McDougall Plan and go to Kathy or Quantum Wellness, The Lean by Kathy Freston, and go to Rory Freidman’s Skinny Bitch co-written with another woman..just to name a few Experts on Human Health and Animal Welfare for verification of the Truth and the Medicinal reasons we should not eat FACTORY FARMED Dead Flesh..Agribusiness and for a good idea of what REALLY goes on behind the burger that you eat go to

      May 8, 2013
  • Terra Pennington

    I hope the hell that he will toss the “Ag-Gag” in this trash and add bigger fines to any slaughter house that is caught in the act. Maybe he will step up and stop the slaughter of horses and keep all that toxic meat from entering our food supply like EU has is doing.

    May 6, 2013
  • Marcia

    I hope people like Amy and people from organizations such Mercy for Animals keep up the good work. If they have courage enough to face possible charges for exposing the cruelty, they will also bring that cruelty to light through publicity and court procedings. It’s to be hoped that the ag-gag rules will be seen by the public for what they are–an attempt by the factory farm and slaughter industries to avoid reform and to continue their abuse umimpeded.

    May 7, 2013
  • MiaTX

    What happened to freedom of speech! If one entity tells us to “not voice” what we have seen….where will this lead!!! Remember History.

    May 7, 2013
  • Viktoria KS

    Any animal having to face this kind of death should be mourned and the public should put pressure on elected or appointed officials, to in some manner improve the humanity at such operations — including, but not limited to mandating that NO public official be allowed to have past, present or future interest in any business interest they have jurisdiction over.

    HOWEVER..AS RELATES TO HORSES AND HORSE SLAUGHTER…please, please, please…KEEP THE MATTERS SEPARATE. Do not combine them because the cattle and other farm animals bred, raised and slaughtered for human consumption ARE A POWERFUL LOBBY and if you combine them, the HORSES WILL SUFFER from their power. That is their argument that the horse rescue/anti-horse slaughter people will next go after the cattle, etc. industries. PLEASSE CONSIDER WHAT YOU ARE DOING WHEN HORSE RESCUE CONCERNS DIP INTO THIS AREA. Thank you…Horse owner–Horse Rescuer Viktoria KS

    May 7, 2013
  • Nancy B

    Seems like the charges were dropped to avoid public knowledge and outcry over this rediculous law! Had the charges stuck this would have become HUGE, shedding a very bright light, nation wide, on how wrong this self-serving law is.

    May 7, 2013
  • Daryl

    Boy oh boy is this back wards, I think this country is taken big giant steps backwards, we as we the People need to get things going in the right direction. i agree with Nancy B.

    May 7, 2013
    • Gracemarie Elliott

      Backwards is right this country has taken big Leaps backwards, rather than steps . It’s all about GREED , MONEY, HATE, and ABUSE

      May 8, 2013