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Indybay Feature
Tue Aug 4 2015
Idaho AgGag Law Struck Down as Unconstitutional
Tue Aug 4 2015
Judge Declares AgGag Law Unconstitutional Attempt to Silence Critics, Whistleblowers
A U.S. District Court has struck down Idaho’s “ag-gag” law as an unconstitutional attempt by the agriculture industry to silence journalists, animal advocates, and whistleblowers who expose cruel farming practices. The ruling — the first of its kind — spells trouble for the agriculture industry’s attempts in other states to outlaw photography and video recordings of animal welfare, workers’ rights, and environmental violations. The ag-gag law “gives agricultural facility owners veto power, allowing owners to decide what can and cannot be recorded, effectively turning them into state-backed censors able to silence unfavorable speech about their facilities,” Judge Lyn Winmill said in the ruling.

The lawsuit was brought by the Animal Legal Defense Fund and PETA, working with plaintiffs including undercover investigators, Farm Forward, and Will Potter as a journalist. A wide-range of organizations supported the lawsuit by filing amicus briefs. They represented food safety, environmental, labor, whistleblower, and journalism organizations.

“The overwhelming evidence gleaned from the legislative history indicates that § 18-7042 was intended to silence animal welfare activists, or other whistleblowers, who seek to publish speech critical of the agricultural production industry,” Winmill writes. “Many legislators made their intent crystal clear by comparing animal rights activists to terrorists….”

pdfphotoRead More | pdfIdaho “Ag-Gag” Law Ruled Unconstitutional in Federal Court | See Also: Coalition Responds to Idaho’s Motion to Dimiss Ag Gag Lawsuit | Groups Head to Court over Controversial Idaho “Ag Gag” Law
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