ACLU Against Ag-Gag Bills

The American Civil Liberties Union, or ACLU, a non-partisan charity dedicated to defending the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution, has come out strongly against the so-called Ag-Gag bills, introduced in 17 states so far. The ACLU asserts that these laws are “flagrant violations of the First Amendment:, and is encouraging Americans to “protect animals and free speech” by fighting these efforts to hide cruel and often criminal practices from the public.
It’s about time.
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First Person Arrested Under Ag-Gag

 

Twenty-five year old Amy Meyer was arrested and charged with violating Utah’s new “Ag Gag” bill that makes it illegal for citizens to record the abuse of animals.  262554_570497038429_549205_nShe went to the Smith Meatpacking Slaughterhouse in Draper, Utah, because she had heard that anyone could see what was going on right from the street. While she was there, she saw cows fighting to get away, a downer cow carried off on a tractor lift, and ground flesh being spewed from a chute on one side of the building. While filming this with her cell phone, she never set foot in the slaughterhouse area, and remained at all times on public property. She was arrested and charged with agricultural operation interference. She is to go to court on May 23rd. If convicted, she faces up to six months in jail. By the way….the Mayor of Draper, Darrell Smith, co-owns the slaughterhouse. But that wouldn’t have anything to do with anything, would it?

Please call the following people and express your support for Amy Meyer and slaughterhouse transparency. I am guessing you can think of many ways of expressing this. And then write two quick emails. Please try to stay respectful and polite — don’t make people remember our rudeness rather than our rightness. These are EASY CALLS. No one is going to start arguing with you (and do you care?) :-)

Utah Governor Herbert
Phone: (800) 705-2464

Draper Mayor Darrell Smith
Phone: (801) 576-6513

Draper City Prosecutor Ben Rasmussen
Phone: (801) 576-6545

Members of the Utah legislature
http://le.utah.gov/Documents/find.htm

Please call the Dale T. Smith and Sons Meat Packing Company and express your disapproval of their mistreatment of animals and their decision to press charges.
Phone: (801) 571-3611
mail@smithmeats.com

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Protesting the fur industry

Have you ever seen anti-fur demonstrations downtown Seattle?

Anti-fur demonstrators at Nordstrom

If you’re walking past Nordstrom and you’re offered an anti-fur leaflet, here’s why:

Nordstrom continues to sell fur despite the cruel nature of the industry. As long as fur is sold at Nordstrom, Action for Animals will continue to organize demonstrations outside the department store. NARN members frequently join AFA at the demos to shed light on the horrors that millions of animals endure in the name of fashion. Farmed fur animals gassed, poisoned, or genitally electrocuted. Wild-caught animals suffer for days in traps and break bones and teeth trying to free themselves.

We want Nordstrom to know that it’s unacceptable to sell fur, and we want to let consumers know about the barbaric practices they’d support if they buy fur.

The good news is, fur is completely avoidable. If you think suffering and death is too high a price to pay for fashion, you’ve got choices. There are a lot of retailers who don’t sell fur. There’s even a list to help you shop with your conscience.

So if you see AFA and NARN outside Nordstrom, say hi or join in! We appreciate your support. While you’re at it, tell Nordstrom you won’t shop there until they stop selling fur. Here’s a petition you can sign and a sample letter.

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Double Standard

As many of you probably heard, Dr. George Tiller, a doctor that performed late-term abortions was murdered at his church this past Sunday.

Any death is tragic, and this one also serves as a reminder of the “special” legal hurdles faced by animal rights activists. The man that shot and killed the doctor was not called a terrorist by the government or by the media, even though the action he carried out was based on his religious and philosophical views. The man is an extremist. He is part of a group that fights in behalf of the voiceless and the anti-abortionist movement as a whole professes to value all human life.

Animal rights activists are often compared to  anti-abortion activists , and we do have many similarities to the Anti-Abortionist movement. We both proclaim to value life, we both conduct protests and we have been known to label members of the opposition “murderers”.   It is worth noting however, that 4 people have been killed by anti-abortion activists, while zero people have been killed by animal rights activists.

The government however, treats us differently. If an animal rights activists commits an action in the name of Animal Liberation, we are automatically labelled terrorists. Anti-abortionists are not. They are only prosecuted based on their crime, not on their ethical, religious or philosophical views. The man that murdered Dr. Tiller will be charged with murder, not terrorism.  He will not be tried in Federal Court, and it is unlikely that he will receive a special sentence.

This double-standard treatment is unfair, but this should be nothing new to us.  Animal rights activists are fighting against unequal standards every day. Dogs are given more protection that pigs, cows more protection that chickens. Any cute animal has more advocates that the less visually appealing. We should not let the injustice that we face at the hands of the legal system deter us.

We must keep fighting on behalf of the voiceless, for the obstacles that we face, are nothing compared to the injustices faced by the animals.

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Vegan Prom for the AETA 4, 3/14/09

Local animal rights supporters came out in their best prom wear to eat delicious vegan tacos and succulent desserts, be stirred by activist talks, and hit the dance floor to 80’s music spun by DJ Coldheart.

Board member David summarized our current campaigns in which, in the words of one supporter, “NARN has really been kicking ass lately.” Attorney Jenn Kaplan explained the significance of the recent arrests of four activists who are being charged under the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act. Darius Fullmer of the SHAC7 gave a rousing speech about the importance of not succumbing to fear in our fight against animal oppression, as well as his own experience being charged under the AETA. “How ever you think is the best way to achieve animal liberation, keep doing it, and do it more,” he said.

And NARN t-shirts made their public debut at the Prom. Black shirt, white printing, $20. Contact info@narn.org to get one!
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Community Presentation: “Know Your Activist Rights: Part 2″ 1/31/09

If a cop asks to see your I.D. at a protest, are you legally obligated to show it?
Do protesters have the right to display images that other people might find offensive?

A local lawyer with NARN outlined what an animal rights activist needs to know in this day and age. She explained Fourth Amendment (search and seizure), Fifth Amendment (self-incrimination) and Sixth Amendment (right to counsel) rights.

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Community Presentation: “Know Your Rights: Freedom of Speech”

An absolutely excellent presentation by a local lawyer who explained First Amendment free speech rights as they relate to animal rights activists.  This was Part 1 of our series discussing everything activists need to know in this day and age. Stay tuned for Part 2 in January about Fourth Amendment (search and seizure), Fifth Amendment (self-incrimination) and Sixth Amendment (right to counsel) rights. Stay safe, be smart, and know your rights!

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