In its May 22, 2017 Egg Farmers Newsletter, NAEF brought to the attention of the egg industry, poultry press, and some in Washington, DC of a legal case in Colorado that could become precedent setting against farmers by animal activists. The information came from Linda Chezem, a Professor Emerita at Purdue, who started an Animal Production & Law summer course many years ago for those in law school who wanted to learn about animal agriculture case law. This course is now located at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln and is transitioning to an on-line class. The current lead instructor is Anthony Schutz.
Upon receiving permission by Ms. Chezem, NAEF is publishing the facts of this case in the NAEF website to show the extreme lengths animal activists will go to end animal agriculture.
An egg farmer who produces organic, free-range eggs, applied to the Delta County Commissions in Colorado for a land use change permit in July 2012. A lawsuit was filed from some neighbors claiming the farm was not agricultural, but really a "factor farm". This is additional proof that animal activists seek to end animal agriculture altogether as free-range egg production is not "factory farming".
The Colorado 7th Judicial District ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, but the Colorado Court of Appeals overruled the verdict against the farmer and Delta County Commissioners. A subsequent lawsuit was filed alleging civil trespass (the plaintiffs claim that dust from the farm was injurious to their health) and is scheduled for a hearing in May 2017.
On May 31st the court returned a verdict for the defendant on all counts in the case of Western Slope Layers, LLC owned by Edwin and Eileen Hostetler in Delta County, Colorado. The cause number for the case is 2014-CV-30062. This case is an example of the damage done by activists who prey on families and small communities.
According to Delta County Farm Bureau, one of the plaintiffs has stated she doubts she'll win the case in court, so she's trying to bankrupt the farmer. $750,000 in legal fees have accrued.
Delta Country Farm Bureau, 322 West 51st Street, Delta, CO 81416 is helping collect donations to support the farmer and have asked the case be made known to others. This is just another reminder that there is no compromise with animal activists.