SALT LAKE CITY -- Veterinarian and part-time farmer Rep. John
Mathis, R-Vernal, wants to put a stop to what he called "animal-rights
terrorists" who take videos or photos on farmers' property without permission to
create propaganda aimed at destroying the agriculture industry.
are groups with the stated purpose to do away with animal agriculture, and
that's egregious -- that's egregious to me," Mathis told legislators this week.
"The animal welfare movement has become an animal rights movement, and that's
Mathis' bill, HB187, would make "agricultural operation
interference" a crime, a class A misdemeanor on the first offense, a
third-degree felony on the second.
While the House Law Enforcement and
Criminal Justice Committee passed the bill out favorably on Tuesday, opposition
remains from animal rights and criminal justice circles.