Readers' forum: Protect animals from cruelty

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 22 2012 12:00 a.m. MST

In December, the animal protection organization Mercy For Animals released an undercover video about a turkey factory farm. The video depicted scenes of unspeakable animal abuse. Turkeys were kicked and thrown as though the animals were inanimate objects instead of living, breathing, feeling beings. Two months later, authorities arrested five employees and charged them with a felony and misdemeanor for animal cruelty.

Yet, if some in the Legislature had their way, the only person arrested would have been the hero who uncovered the abuse and went to the proper authorities. HB187, if passed, would criminalize taking photographs or videos of animal factory farms.

The bill's sponsor, Rep. John Mathis, has publicly stated that the aim of his bill is to put a stop to animal advocates who often risk their own safety to bring to light animal abuse that otherwise would go unseen. I encourage all Utahns to contact their state representatives and senators and urge them to vote against HB187 which would do nothing but tie the hands of law enforcement, enable animal abuse and punish whistle-blowers who want to document violations of law.

Ashley Rackl

Salt Lake City

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