Jim Hightower: Big ag chokes on it’s own scam
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 such as Meyer from recording abuses that are routinely taking place on factory farms.
Actually, these are the repressive laws of the cowardly new world of industrial agriculture. Big Ag’s eager to keep us all in the dark about what they’re doing to the pigs, cows and chickens under their care.
A resident of Utah, which passed a gag law last year, Meyer had heard about some ugly doings at the Smith & Sons Meat Packing outfit in the town of Draper City. She decided to take a look.
Even from the public roadway, where she stood, the horror was easy to see. Then 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 — get ready for it — "agricultural operation interference." This strangely worded infraction is punishable by a six-month jail term.
However, global public outrage poured into Draper City — thanks to Will Potter, author of the GreenIsTheNewRed.com blog.
Within 24 hours, prosecutors dropped all charges against Meyer — the first person in America to be charged under these ridiculous laws.
Because of the courage of people such Meyer, Potter, and thousands of freedom defenders, Big Ag is choking on its own ag-gag scam.
Jim Hightower is a radio commentator, writer and public speaker. He’s also editor of the populist newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown.