The Utah Legislature has passed a bill titled “Agricultural Operation Interference” that prohibits taking photographs or video on an animal factory farm [“Ag-Gagged,” March 1, City Weekly]. But why is it “interfering” to simply take a photograph?
If I take a picture of the day-to-day activities of a gardener, teacher or real-estate agent, no one would say I’m “interfering” with their business. Factory farms, on the other hand, fear the light of day and want their conduct to remain hidden from view.
They know that if the public were able to catch a rare glimpse inside their windowless sheds, they would see thousands of miserable animals confined to cages barely larger than their own bodies. They might even witness inexcusable acts of abuse, which seem to be dishearteningly commonplace on modern factory farms. And they know the public, which cares about the treatment of farm animals, would disapprove of such cruelty.
Shame on the Legislature for bowing to special interests and creating a hidden world where criminal activity and animal abuse can more safely flourish.
Salt Lake City