Activists Sue Over Constitutionality of Idaho Ag Protection Law
March 21, 2014
Just weeks after the Idaho governor signed its ag protection legislation into law, a host of activist organizations and individuals have sued the state's governor and attorney general saying the law "violates the First Amendment, the Supremacy Clause and the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution," according to documents filed in Idaho's federal court.
The activists contend that the law "creates the crime of 'interference with agricultural production,' which has both the purpose and effect of impairing the public debate about animal welfare, food safety, environmental and labor issues that arise on public and private land."
Such laws seek to stem the practice of undercover videotaping at livestock production centers, with the edited video released at a later date supposedly exposing various types of animal abuse. Typically, the laws have either sought to make the practice of shooting unapproved video illegal, or they require those who have witnessed abuse to report it within a short timeframe, thus undercutting activist groups' efforts to edit the videos and use them as a fundraising tool.
The Idaho law says that anyone who captures images or sounds of an agricultural activity in a facility not open to the public without "express consent or pursuant to judicial process or statutory authorization" is guilty of "interference with agricultural production."
In the Idaho suit, the plaintiffs contend that, "The statute defines 'agricultural production facility' so broadly that it applies not only to factory farms and slaughterhouses, but also to public parks, restaurants, nursing homes, grocery stores, pet stores and virtually every public accommodation and private residence in the state."
Reprinted in part from MeatingPlace.com