On March 17, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, along with a broad coalition of public interest groups, filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Idaho’s recently enacted “ag gag” law. Undercover investigations have routinely revealed sickening acts of animal cruelty on factory farms as well as shocking acts of aggravated abuse—including workers kicking pigs in the head, stomping and throwing chickens and turkeys like footballs, smashing piglets’ heads against concrete floors, and beating and sexually assaulting pigs with steel gate rods. Likewise, too-frequent revelations of food safety violations have led to the recall of millions of pounds of tainted animal products.
Ag gag laws like Idaho’s aim to silence animal advocates and whistle-blowers to prevent the documentation of animal cruelty, mistreatment of workers, and food safety violations. By doing so, the ag industry is “gagging” free speech: writing its own laws to protect its interests, while violating the constitutional rights of those who would expose the industry’s cruel behavior. Idaho is the seventh state to pass such a law. Last July in Utah, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, supported by a similar public interest coalition, filed the nation’s first lawsuit against an ag gag law.
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Ag gag laws criminalize the collection of evidence of animal abuse on factory farms and are a threat to people across the country. These laws prevent the public from seeing the abuse of animals, illegal working conditions, and risky food safety practices that are common behind the closed gates of industrial farming facilities. In February, Utah became the first state to charge an…
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