Animal activists may face charges

following break-in at Moroni farm

 

By Suzanne Dean

Publisher

Dec. 7, 2017

 

MANTI—Sanpete County Attorney Brody Keisel says as soon as he has enough investigative information, he will file charges against any activists from Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) who broke the law in order to gather information about supposed animal cruelty on one or more turkey farms.

The group based in Berkeley, Calif. released a video, photos and written report just before Thanksgiving accusing a farm affiliated with Norbest of “torture” and “violence” against turkeys.

Matt Cook, Norbest CEO, posted a response online saying there were problems at the farm where the video was shot and photos taken. But Cook said Norbest had already moved in and confiscated the particular grower’s turkeys.

Meanwhile, Dick Olson of Ephraim, a long-time turkey farmer, wrote an op-editorial “Another Look” piece is last week’s Messenger saying the DxE activists must have breached “signs, locks and gates” to get into the turkey sheds they photographed.

“Why are these activists not in jail?” Olson asked in his article.

Keisel said he understood Sheriff Brian Nielson had assigned the case to Detective Tyler Johnson. The county attorney said any turkey farmers who can identify people from DxE who may have committed illegal acts or provide information about activist activities should contact the Sheriff’s Office.

The Messenger was unable to reach the sheriff for comment, but an official of the Sheriff’s Office said Johnson was out of town for military duty until Dec. 11.

“I understand some of these guys (the activists) actually identified themselves in some of their rants,” Keisel said.

If the individuals involved have left the state, “I would consider extraditing them back,” he said. “This is an agricultural county, and especially with biosecurity, we can’t stand idly by.”