Cassie King

Published on:

February 1, 2023

Smithfield Trial Juror Speaks Up against New Anti-Rescue Bill in Utah

Utah legislators with ties to the Farm Bureau released House Bill 114, “Theft Defense Amendments,” in direct response to the outcome of the Smithfield Trial.

Yesterday, Utah’s largest newspaper, The Salt Lake Tribune, published an op-ed written by R. Lynn Carlson, one of the jurors from the groundbreaking Smithfield Trial where open rescue activists were acquitted for the first time in history. In his opinion piece, Lynn defends the acquittal of animal rescuers and criticizes the reaction of Utah legislators who have introduced an anti-rescue bill, House Bill 114, in direct response to the outcome of the Smithfield Trial. 

If it passes, HB 114 will change the nature of Utah’s theft statute to prevent any defendant from raising a defense that their actions were necessary to save an animal who is “sick, injured, or a liability to the owner.” 

This bill goes against the will of ordinary Utahns. Instead of taking action to end the animal cruelty that DxE exposed at Smithfield, the Utah legislature is doubling down on factory farm owners’ right to leave sick and suffering animals to die.

Lynn says it well in his op-ed: “This bill is a reckless and impulsive reaction by politicians who are clearly re-writing the law to appease Smithfield and the powerful agriculture lobby in Utah. The people of Utah should speak up against HB 114 and protect the integrity of our criminal justice system."

Read Lynn’s op-ed about HB 114 in The Salt Lake Tribune here. And then, join him in speaking up against this unjust bill. 

HB 114 is being fast tracked through the legislature and may soon reach the governor’s desk. Please contact Utah Governor Spencer Cox and urge him to veto HB 114 if it passes the Senate. You can contact Governor Cox by filling out this form on his website. Providing your address is optional. Here is a sample message you can use or modify:

“Please veto HB 114 if it passes the Senate. This anti-rescue bill goes against the will of the people. Ordinary people want to see suffering animals be rescued. Animal abuse should be prosecuted, not animal rescue.”

You can also help us spread the word by sharing Lynn’s op-ed on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.