Activist “trespassers” fined $1.00 each
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, March 2004:
MUNCIE, Indiana–Apologizing to Ball State University
professor Abel Alves and artist Carol Blakney, his wife, Judge
Wayne Lennington of the Delaware Circuit Court in Muncie, Indiana on
February 24, 2004 fined them each $1.00 for trespassing and released
them without further conditions.
A jury earlier convicted Alves and Blakney of trespassing,
for briefly viewing the Seldom Rest hog farm from a roadside in
“Lennington said he couldn’t call the jury’s decision to
convict ‘despicable.’ But he indicated that is how he felt,” wrote
Seth Stabaugh of the Muncie Star Press.
“Several months before being accused of trespassing,”
Stabaugh explained, “Blakney filed a complaint against Seldom Rest
with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. IDEM accused
[owner] Kaye Whitehead of housing pigs in an unpermitted structure,”
and of allowing manure to pollute a creek. Whitehead corrected the
alleged violations, but is believed to have pursued the trespassing
charges in retaliation.
Whitehead chairs the Delaware County Farm Bureau and the
Delaware County Republican Party. Prosecutor Judy Calhoun is
daughter of a Randolph County farmer and cousin of a Randolph County
Farm Bureau official, Stabaugh wrote.
“This prosecution was a malicious effort to stifle dissent,”
said Waterkeeper Alliance president Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
Aves and Blakney said they would appeal to try to erase the
The case was widely seen as a test of the concepts behind the
draft “Animal & Ecological Terrorism Act” promoted in state
legislatures throughout the U.S. by the American Legislative Exchange
Council. The draft act seeks to prevent photography and videography
of farms, in the name of fighting terrorism and promoting bio
security, but with rhetoric indicating that the real target is
anyone who might expose bad conditions.
A version of the draft act took effect in California on
January 1, 2004. Six other state legislatures considered similar
bills in 2003. Parallel bills have recently been re-introduced in
Missouri and introduced for the first time in Washington.