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Animal Rights Activists Face Multiple Felony Charges, Brought by Prosecutors With Ties to Smithfield Foods

Six animal rights activists in California have been charged with multiple felony counts in two separate criminal cases brought by Utah prosecutors last month. If convicted, they could face many years in prison.

These charges raise serious questions about whether prosecutors are attempting to unconstitutionally punish the activists for filming, documenting, and exposing abuses by the agricultural industry that dominates the state, and particularly whether the prosecutors have acted with improper motives because of their own extensive ties to that industry.

The first criminal case, reported by The Intercept last month, was brought by Sanpete County Attorney Kevin Daniels. It charges six activists with two felony charges that, at least as provided by the cited statutes, carry possible prison terms of five years each.

That case arises out of the filming of horrific conditions at an industrial farm that supplies turkeys to Norbest, a large company that aggressively markets itself to the public...

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