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Two weeks later, city prosecutor Ben Rasmussen charged Meyer with "agricultural operation interference," a crime under Utah's new ag-gag law. She became the first person in American history to be ensnared for the crime of filming cows.

In April, Potter posted the tale of Meyer's travails on his website, Green Is the New Red (greenisthenewred.com). The story went viral, attracting hundreds of thousands of readers before the site crashed from the volume.

Within a day, Rasmussen decided Meyer didn't make a very good criminal after all and dropped the charges.

Cody Carlson, said of his undercover experience at New York's largest dairy farm: "It's incredibly overwhelming. Your brain can't process seeing this many animals crammed together in one place."
Photo: Sam Zide
Cody Carlson, said of his undercover experience at New York's largest dairy farm: "It's incredibly overwhelming. Your brain can't process seeing this many animals crammed together in one place."
At Rose Acre Farms in Iowa, the nation's second-largest egg producer, with nearly 5 million chickens.
Photo courtesy of the Humane Society of the United States
At Rose Acre Farms in Iowa, the nation's second-largest egg producer, with nearly 5 million chickens.

E-mail Pete Kotz

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13 comments
nyfarmlaw
nyfarmlaw

The author didn't mention how New York City politicians have fought tooth and nail for the cheapest possible milk out of rural NY.  The forces driving farms upstate to larger and larger scale have included the lack of a fair price for the smaller scale family sized farms to sustain themselves.  The stage for a decade of massive consolidation in NY's farms was set in 1998 when NY politicians shouted down the efforts of NY's family farmers to collective bargaining in the form of the Northeast Dairy Compact.  I remember the NY Times editorializing that a fair price to the farmers Upstate was not justified.  NYC food groups called it a "milk tax on the poor."  (A phrase coined with the help of focus groups and professionals hired by the huge processors).  Editorials written to the Times demanded large scale corporate farms that were more "efficient" than the outdated family farms. The public has demanded the cheapest food, excoriating farm families as we fought to survive.  If you don't believe me google "Have a cow" "dairy compact." 

MrsB
MrsB

Unfortunately, animal by-products are used for car tires, and other commodities, not just food.  I believe it is in the pursuit of more profits for slaughterhouse owners that these animals have to be bashed, electrocuted and slaughtered by homicidal maniacs who laugh at the torturing, all in the name of greed.  A list of farmers and slaughterhouses, poultry farms, fish canneries, puppy mills, furriers, zoos, circuses, puppy mills and other harbingers of torture should be on a list that is available for the consumer.  That way we can actively not support such ruthless and cruel animal enterprises.  The beef and pork industries, as well as animal research labs are the biggest supports of covering up their terroristic practices. They need to be arrested and put in prison before they kill their family dogs, beat their kids senseless or terrorize their homes. What kinds of criminally insane people work in slaughterhouses?

hkguy
hkguy like.author.displayName 1 Like

Bless you for writing this. I just don't understand — it's beyond comprehension — how people can think some mammals are "cute" and scream to the rafters about the slightest abuse (screaming at me when my rescued dogs are tied up outside a grocery store) and yet blithely consume animal products produced under the most appalling conditions. I.S. Singer said it best: For animals, every day is Treblinka. 

valeriep
valeriep

heartbreaking, humbling and horrific - but a must read. not just for those who continue to eat meat/dairy, but for those of us who don't so that we can be proud of each animal saved from this  inhumanity. thank you for this coverage and thank you to cody and all others who suffer sleepless nights and ptsd because of their undercover work. it is critical to change and i, for one, am very grateful.

scarysmart
scarysmart like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

Village Voice, because this is an incredible and highly valuable story YOU NEED to give the readers a way to post this on ALL social media and to send out multiple emails especially to legislators on state and federal levels. This is the simplest problem facing our nation for us to deal with and eradicate. NO ONE wants to eat the flesh of animals who are abused and totured.  Because all that negativity goes into bodies and translates into more negativity meaning all sorts of diseases and death.

cannenorris
cannenorris like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

Anyone who would want to work in these places (unless as an undercover investigator) has psychopathic tendencies. The behaviours of the employees are seriously sick and twisted and it's scary that these people are wandering around free in our society. There should be overt shaming and I would like to see these individuals faces and actions displayed in the videos that are made. There should be harsh consequences for this behaviour.

Michele6933
Michele6933 like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

I nominate PETE KOTZ for tne next non-fiction PULITZER PRIZE . An admirable, all-encompassing, compassionate and eye-opening piece . And thousands of thanks to the brave reporters who have risked much to uncover the horrible criminal situations systematic to the modern agriculture and farming practices. The "terrorists" are those who terrorize animals, it is them who should be imprisoned . We must work to pass laws protecting all animals, non merely pets . Non-humans deserve the same respect humans expect . In the meantime, let us do what we can : do not eat animals and fewer will suffer . There's no such event as HUMANE slaughter . Thank you again, Mr. Kotz

Ursula2007
Ursula2007 like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

Thank you for this article, but there are a few inaccuracies (perhaps you were purposely misled by the industry representatives?). Gestation crates for sows do not prevent piglet deaths - "farrowing crates" are what the sows must live in AFTER giving birth. Gestation crates are used to confine sows that are merely pregnant - for the three months, three weeks and three days of their pregnancy.

Cows, contrary to the assertions of your source, do enjoy moving around quite a bit. Since they are grazing animals, their natural inclination is to roam quite a bit during the day, foraging for food. Naturally, if they are given food from feeders and not allowed on pasture, they would have no reason to roam, and therefore might appear "lazy" to people who see them as nothing but commodities.

And if I hear one more industry apologist declare how animals "sacrifice" themselves for the greater good of humans, I'm going to scream. I'm fairly certain if you bothered to ask an animal if she'd rather live than become someone's dinner, she wouldn't "sacrifice" herself for a gluttonous human's momentary pleasure.

maryfinelli
maryfinelli like.author.displayName 1 Like

Yes, the only way to not be responsible for such horrific cruelty is to reject animal products and opt for a vegan diet - which is also better for human health and the planet's health. It's also a delicious, convenient, very enjoyable way to eat!! See: http://www.humanemyth.org and http://www.VRG.org

Marion X Bertaud
Marion X Bertaud

So happy you posted this. So many people are not aware of where and how their animal products are brought to their plates. If people knew, most people would not consume it!

 
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