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Heigl lobbies Utah Senate against "ag-gag" bill

Published March 1, 2012 10:38 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Actress and part-time Utahn Katherine Heigl is inserting herself in a battle over the Utah Legislature's so-called "ag-gag" bill.

The bill, HB187, would make it a crime to photograph, film or videotape farm operations without permission of the property owner. It's aimed at animal-rights activists who have exposed cruel practices at factory farms — and the bill is being pushed hard by agricultural corporations.

According to E! Online, Heigl (recently seen in "New Year's Eve" and "One for the Money") sent a letter to members of the Utah Senate, urging the bill's defeat:

"My husband and I married in Utah, and I've been proud to call the state home for the last couple of years. ... This bill makes our state's agricultural community seem desperate to hide illegal and inhumane treatment of animals from the public. As animals cannot defend themselves, the public must maintain its right to document illegal cruel practices in order to alert law enforcement to its existence. ... I hope that legislators in Utah recognize that they need to work to prevent cruelty to animals by strengthening laws, not penalizing those who are trying to expose this cruelty."

Utah isn't the only state considering such a bill. According to Food Safety News, both houses of the Iowa Legislature have passed an "ag-gag" bill and sent it to Gov. Terry Branstad, a Republican. A similar bill was defeated in Florida, and bills are pending in Nebraska, Minnesota, Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana and New York.