Federal Court Rules Idaho Ag-Gag Law Unconstitutional

For the first time ever, a court has declared an ag-gag law illegal.

The US District Court for the District of Idaho ruled today that Idaho’s ag-gag law (passed in 2014) is unconstitutional, marking the first time a US court has made this decision. These laws—active in seven states and rejected in thirty-two—make it illegal for journalists, workers, and animal-rights activists to document factory farm injustices ranging from animal abuse to worker and food safety violations. In a case filed by a coalition of nonprofits (including the Animal Legal Defense Fund, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho, and the Center for Food Safety), the court ruled that Idaho’s ag-gag statute violates the First Amendment by suppressing speech that criticizes factory farms as well as the Equal Protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment by discriminating against animal-rights advocates. This case sets a precedent for the remaining states that have passed ag-gag laws, namely Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Washington, Utah, and North Carolina.

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