Target: Amy Meyer, animal rights activist
Goal: Commend Amy Meyer for her dedication to exposing Big Ag cruelty and fighting First Amendment violations
When Amy Meyer recorded an incident of animal cruelty on her smartphone outside the Dale Smith Meatpacking Company in Draper City, Utah, she probably had no idea that her actions could be interpreted as criminal. Thanks to Utah’s 2012 “ag-gag” law. Though seven other states have laws criminalizing undercover investigations or recording of agricultural facilities – including a law on the books in Kansas since 1990 which was followed in 1991 by similar laws in Montana and North Dakota – Utah became the first to enforce the law when Meyer was arrested and jailed.
The charges brought against Meyer were dropped when it was revealed that she was on public property while recording the video, but the fact remains that ag-gag laws treat trespassing and recording on facility property as a greater crime than the potential animal rights abuses a whistleblower might be investigating. Modern ag-gag laws (the twenty-first century brethren of the Kansas, Montana, and North Dakota legislation) drop the pretense of concern with theft or property damage, instead focusing on spying and investigative activity, blatantly pursuing anti-whistleblowing policy. Besides protecting perpetrators of animal rights abuses, these laws allow agriculture corporations to get away with unsanitary conditions which can lead to disease and potential public health concerns.
After the charges were dropped, Meyer joined forces with PETA, the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), and other activists to pursue a lawsuit against the Utah law, arguing that it violates First Amendment free speech rights and freedom of the press. This could be the important first step in removing all such laws from the books and building a system of transparency and accountability in the American agricultural industry. By signing this petition, you are voicing your support for Amy Meyer and her comrades, standing in solidarity with them as an ally fighting animal rights abuses and trying to protect consumers from Big Agriculture.
Dear Amy Meyer and comrades,
Your recent actions in defense of animal rights and free speech are inspiring and courageous in the face of Big Ag opposition. I applaud you for seeking to expose the abuses and unsanitary conditions rampant within the agro-industrial complex.
Thank you for undertaking this lawsuit against Utah’s “ag-gag” law and insisting that agriculture corporations be held to some standards of transparency and accountability. I hope that this case will open the door for repealing all such laws in this country, for the sake of preserving all of our First Amendment rights.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Michael Fleshman via Flickr