Federal Judge Strikes Down Idaho’s Ag-Gag Law
Some good news!
Yesterday a federal judge has ruled that Idaho’s law banning secret filming of animal abuse at agricultural facilities is unconstitutional.
The ruling comes after a coalition of animal activists, food safety, and civil liberties groups sued the state more than a year ago, opposing the so-called “ag gag” law. At the time, journalist Will Potter said of the bill, “It’s a direct attack on whistleblowers, investigators, and journalists. Most importantly, laws like this are an attempt to keep everyone from knowing what really takes place behind closed doors on factory farms and slaughterhouses.”
It’s a “coincidence” that the bill was passed at the same time graphic video footage of animal abuse was released that was taken by an undercover investigator at an Idaho farm for Mercy For Animals.
Thankfully, based on Monday’s ruling, Idaho’s ag-gag law is no longer in effect.
“This is a victory for the Constitution, and animals and consumers nationwide. Judge Winmill’s decision to strike down Idaho’s dangerous and unconstitutional ag-gag law is the first step towards restoring transparency in U.S. food production,” said Nathan Runkle, president of Mercy For Animals, in a statement.
“Idaho’s lawmakers should be ashamed of wasting precious time and valuable resources enacting unconstitutional laws that threaten animal welfare, food safety, workers’ rights, and the environment. We hope they will now focus their efforts on improving animal welfare and rewarding the brave whistleblowers who uncover criminal activity in Idaho’s agricultural operations. This ruling should also be a wake-up call to the meat industry that attempts to keep consumers in the dark about where their food comes from will not be tolerated.
“Mercy For Animals looks forward to resuming undercover investigations in Idaho. The sickening and illegal animal cruelty on factory farms that this despicable law sought to conceal will not go undetected and unpunished. We hope that dangerous ag-gag laws enacted in other states will be swiftly struck down as a result of today’s decision.”
We applaud Idaho for striking down this horrible bill, and we can only hope that other states, including Kentucky, will do the same.