Sponsors: Senator Scott Sandall, Rep. Snider
UT H.B. 114—Theft Defense Amendments
Sponsors: Senator Evan Vickers, Rep. Albrecht
Update—July 13, 2023: Unfortunately, the Utah Legislature passed S.B. 113 and H.B. 114, making it harder to prevent animal cruelty in your state. While it was not the outcome we hoped for, we appreciate each action you took throughout the year to try to prevent these bills from becoming law.
Senate Bill 113 strips communities across Utah of their ability to regulate large-scale animal enterprises, which are businesses that use or sell animals or animal products for profit, food, research, testing and more. Factory farms—which can house hundreds of thousands of animals in one facility—are an example of a harmful animal enterprise in dire need of regulation. Communities across the country have increasingly been taking action to combat the negative impacts of factory farms. Rather than reform their destructive practices, these corporations are responding by pushing preemption laws to insulate themselves from liability or oversight.
S.B. 113 could reverse the progress Utahans have made in protecting animals from cruel, exploitative industries like these, and local governments within Utah could lose their right to enact laws that prevent harm to people and animals in their communities.
House Bill 114 could further criminalize Good Samaritans who rescue sick or injured farm animals in need of medical attention. People who rescue sick or injured livestock would be charged with a higher-level crime and their defense would be restricted from citing the animal’s need for medical attention. This bill is unconstitutional; it would take away people’s right to due process after taking measures to help injured farm animals.
H.B. 114 is an impulsive overreach by politicians who are clearly re-writing the law to appease Smithfield and the powerful agriculture lobby in Utah. It comes in the wake of a jury acquitting two activists for rendering aid to sick pigs being confined in inhumane conditions. Rather than address the abuses of factory farms, some legislators are attempting to criminalize care for farm animals and take away people’s rights because they don’t agree with the jury’s decision.
What You Can Do
Join the ASPCA Regional Advocacy Field Team (RAFT) to help pass priority legislation through grassroots advocacy. Whether you're a seasoned advocate or have no experience at all, joining RAFT is a great way to get involved in animal advocacy from the comfort of your home and within your community. Learn more and apply today!