RIGHTS ORGANIZATION FILES CIVIL RIGHTS LAWSUIT AGAINST MORGAN COUNTY
claims that Morgan County’s demand that protesters pay for police
officers’ time and ordinance requiring protesters to stay 1,000 feet
away from a fur farm are unconstitutional.
was filed on October 29, 2009 in Federal District Court on behalf of the
animal rights organization Salt Lake Animal Advocacy Movement (SLAAM) and
two of its members, Colleen Hatfield and Jeremy Beckham. The lawsuit was
filed through counsel Brian Barnard and alleges that Morgan County enacted
laws and regulations that infringe on the constitutional rights of members
intends to hold a protest on November 28, 2009 in Morgan County outside
fur farms. The county has enacted ordinances specifically intended to curb
the rights of SLAAM to protest on November 28. SLAAM has established a website
at FurFreeUtah.com outlining plans for the protest. The full complaints
against Morgan County and UDOT can also be found on this website.
speech is quickly becoming fee speech,” said Colleen Hatfield, SLAAM
director. “First UDOT wants a $1,000,000 liability insurance policy
and now Morgan County wants us to pay for their police officers’ time.
If we were to let these policy decisions stand, only the rich would have
the right to get their message heard in America.” Morgan County Chief
Deputy Kevin Edwards indicated to SLAAM that the charge would be $40 per
hour per officer. In addition, the lawsuit alleges that Morgan County may
not constitutionally prohibit protesters from picketing within 1,000 feet
of a fur farm, even if a
residence is found on the farm.
fifteen operating fur farms, Morgan County has more fur farms than any other
county in the U.S. Fur farms have long been the target of animal rights
organizations due to their controversial animal husbandry practices and
killing methods. Animals on fur farms are killed by anal electrocution or
suffocation to keep the coat intact.
Last year, members of the underground Animal Liberation Front (ALF) released
thousands of mink from fur farms in Kaysville and South Jordan.
wants to shed light on the unspeakable and unnecessary animal suffering
that is typical on American mink farms,” said Jeremy Beckham, SLAAM
member. “The mink farmers want to keep their cruelty hidden from public
view – we intend to shed light on it this November 28th.”