The U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho has ruled that the Ag-Gag law violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. This law is one of many across agriculture-rich states that criminalize investigation and whistle-blowing, whereby the interests of powerful corporations are held above the general public. Kathy Griesmyer of the American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho details the victory for animals and animal advocates in her article:
Undercover video and photography has exposed numerous shocking practices that are “industry standards.” These pervasive, systematic procedures include routine mutilation, including debeaking birds with electrically heated blades and castrating male animals by slicing open their scrotum and ripping their testicles out without pain relief or anesthesia and intensive confinement—where animals are literally unable to turn around for months on end. Exposes have also detailed the sickening farming conditions resulting in contaminated meat products—posing serious health risks to the public—and life threatening conditions for farm workers.
These investigations, and the subsequent media coverage, have led to food safety recalls, citations for environmental and labor violations, evidence of health code violations, plant closures, criminal convictions, and civil litigation. The Idaho statute unconstitutionally and unwisely prohibits efforts to bring violations of state and federal laws relating to food safety, environmental protection, and animal handling to the attention of the public and law enforcement.
We have previously reported on the shockingly cruel treatment of rabbits at slaughterhouses like Pel-Freez, where rabbits are subjected to tortuous conditions. This ruling is a good first step toward the eradication of rulings that do nothing more than protecting corporations and treating animal rights activists like terrorists and vigilantes.