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Pig farm debate brings out controversial statements

TREMONTON Utah (ABC 4 News) - The director of a woman's shelter is feeling heat for statements she made about Latino workers.
TREMONTON Utah (ABC 4 News) – A debate over a pig farm led to comments that some are calling racist.

It happened last month as the city council was considering a proposal to allow a pig slaughterhouse be built on the northern edge of the community.

Annette MacFarlane's the director of a woman's shelter in Brigham City voiced opposition to the plant. She was worried about social problems a slaughter house brings when it employs Latino immigrants.

Her comments were recorded by a reporter for the Tremonton Leader and placed on Youtube. Http://www.tremontonleader.com/?p=26776

She attributed her statements to a Cache County sheriff’s sergeant who was familiar with the Latino workforce at a meat packing plant in Hyrum.

“There's a high cohabitant abuse rate,” McFarlane said during her comments before the city council. “There's human trafficking and illegal aliens. The workers are not a problem but their children are gang members in that area."

She also addressed the Latino children as told by the sheriff deputy.

"And he said I was hoping there'd be generational change,” she says. “But the sons are just as bad as their dads. They don’t own homes, they live in trailers.”

A spokesman for Cache County sheriff's office says no such thing was said.

“We investigated and we feel very confident that was not said by our deputy,” says Lt. Brian Locke. “Those (kind of) comments were not made.”

Lt. Locke says the woman was told that with any increase in population there is more crime.

“But race was never mentioned,” says Lt. Locke.

The comments made public on Youtube has the Latino community upset.

“All the stereotyping of Latinos continues to be around ‘We're lazy, we're different things,’” says Tony Yapias, a Latino advocate. “That' just not true. We work hard.”

ABC 4 News met with MacFarlane at her Brigham City office.

Asked if she was a racist she replied: “absolutely not.”

MacFarlane refused an on camera interview but she says she stands by her comments made by the Cache County sheriff representative.

But MacFarlane appeared remorseful over her comments.

“I am very sorry that the remarks were interpreted as racist because that is so much in opposition to who I am and what I believe and what I stand for," McFarlane told ABC4 News.

A spokesman for the shelter’s board says they are seeking legal counsel to address the situation.
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