February 29, 2012

Utah Rep. Introduces Bill To Make Filming Farm Abuse A Major Crime, Praises Industry Donor “Friends” At Hearing

Undercover videos at factory farms like this would be a major offense under Mathis's legislation.

Utah Rep. John Mathis (R) has introduced a bill that would criminalize individuals who take undercover video footage at factory farms, a practice which is often done to expose the abuse of animals and conditions that would make food unsafe for human consumption. The bill would make this filming a Class A misdemeanor and a third-degree felony on the second offense, the same as assaulting a police officer.

At a hearing about his bill that took place earlier this month, Mathis praised the presence of individuals from the agriculture industry. “It’s fun to see my good Ag friends in this committee,” Mathis said. “All my good friends are here.” One can interpret Mathis’s comments as praising an industry he is ideologically predisposed to, or perhaps as the legislator complimenting his personal friends.

However, what Mathis did not reveal in his comments was that both of the apparent “friends” he was praising were also major donors to his campaign. One of the individuals who testified that day was Mike Kohler of the Utah Dairy Producers (sometimes called the Dairy Producers of Utah). The other individual who testified was Sterling Brown of the Utah Farm Bureau.

Both Kohler and Brown’s organizations gave $1,000 contributions to the Utah-based AGPAC political action committee in 2010. AGPAC was Mathis’s fifth largest single donor in 2008 and the 12th largest single donor to his 2010 campaign. It appears that Mathis’s “friends” are indeed treating him very well as he continues to legislate in their favor.

  • Eyez

    What conscience-less scumbag. Bad for animals AND bad for people at the same time! Your mother should have held that aspirin…

  • Bobhaig05

    wow 1000$; so worth the thousands of kids sick with E.coli

  • Nick Young

    Anyone who wants to cover the truth is…. well, you aren’t doing your job right by the American people. Everything you do moving forward is forfeit.

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  • guest

    What I piece of shit. I originally read this article wrong. I originally thought he was trying to criminalize farm abuse. And I was all for it and clicked ‘like’. Then I read he was trying to criminalize the filming of farm abuse. Immediatly I clicked unlike. Are you kidding me?! Why do people INSIST on keeping this world on the atrocious level it is on. What happened to the people trying to make the world a better place? When will people start using the political power for the forces for good. What happens on factory farms is dispicable. And these videos and pictures NEED to keep coming out so the world can finally see what they are contributing to by supporting large companies that utilize factory farming.

  • Jameson Hardcastle

    Funny how every other business promotes the use of vidoes in there businesses, but the famers don’t want what they are doing to be filmed. They must be hiding something they don’t want us to see. And this is the food we eat!!! These people and the people that support them are what’s wrong with this world!

  • Tomkish1

    lets get a petition going to have this man impeached for such an act. This is criminal and should be brought out in the open and he should lose his job at the very least.

  • draftycranium

    This is the worst of the worst. Is this still America? The government, is no longer America. There are corporations and the ag business, absolutely not America. What is left are everyone else who must respond accordingly. America exists when the people reject these false powers. There are so many changes we can make, without regard for these systems. It is up to people to rule ourselves, it has always been so. If you hate factory farms, buy nothing from them. I never will again, it is easy. If you hate the public school system, home school. And so on. Ignorance in this country is partly deliberate. Any problems we perceive are due to our lack of will.

  • lisa lorraine

    contact your congressmen and tell them to vote this down–it ought to be mandatory for all factory farm activity to be taped–go vegan!

  • guest

    There are several petitions on change.org about this. Go there and search for “John Mathis” and “HB 187” then sign the petitions for his resignation and show your opposition to corruption and HB 187.

  • Mitch

    John Mathis you are a piece of scum! Thanks Republic Report for reporting this.

  • guest

    Petition on change.org for ag industry sellout John Mathis to resign:

    Two petitions in opposition of HB 187, Mathis’ bill that could discourage farm employees who have legitimate concerns for animal cruelty from documenting and reporting.


    Sign all three and show your support for humane treatment for animals, and a government free of corporate interference.

  • SuperFlyJonny5

    Please check out the Ag-Gag bill that is about to cross Governor Branstad’s desk, here in Iowa. What’s happening is very wrong.

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  • Iowa and Utah protects animal abusers,and unsanitary food production.Great.Our society is sick morally.Obama also has allowed prosecution of whistle blowers while the criminal banksters walk,no,make $Billions more.Thx Republicans.here’s hoping enough of your families get sick now that you are on the record against wholesome food.

  • lisa


  • Roxanne Victor

    Hiding something wrong doesn’t make it right, Mr. Mathis. Responsible farmers can make money and be humane.

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  • Animals’ Advocate

    This isn’t John’s first bill to favor agribusiness at the expense of animal welfare. His 2008 bill, SB 297 increases penalties for torturing animals, but EXEMPTS farmers. The bill “Defines animal ‘torture’ as deliberately causing intense physical pain to an animal in an especially heinous, depraved or cruel manner”. Killing an animal for food in a humane manner would not be torture. In other words, John thinks farmers should be allowed to torture animals, according to the bill. See link, below:

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