Whistleblowing Allowed: Court Overrules Law Gagging Animal Abuse Probes
U.S. District Court Judge B. Lynn Winmill has written that in a pivotal case of animal cruelty undercover reporting, the Idaho Dairymen’s Association responded to the negative publicity by drafting and sponsoring a bill in a class known as Ag-Gag legislation that criminalizes the types of surreptitious investigations that expose such violent activities. Seven other states currently have similar Ag-Gag laws on the books.
Winmill declared the law unconstitutional in his decision, stating that its only purpose is to “limit and punish those who speak out on topics relating to the agricultural industry, striking at the heart of important First Amendment values.” The law was deemed to violate the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment, “as well as preemption claims under three different federal statutes,” cites Winmill.
“This ruling is so clear, so definitive, so sweeping,” says Leslie Brueckner, senior attorney for Public Justice and co-counsel for the plaintiffs in the case. “We couldn’t ask for a better building block in terms of striking these laws down in other states.”
Source: Food Safety News