Issue

Ag-Gag Laws

Ag-Gag laws seek to “gag” would-be whistleblowers and undercover activists by punishing them for recording footage of what goes on in animal agriculture.

As the name suggests, Ag-Gag laws seek to “gag” would-be whistleblowers and undercover activists by punishing them for recording footage of what goes on in animal agriculture. They were originally designed to prevent the public from learning about animal cruelty.

More recently, as is the case in North Carolina and Arkansas, states are passing laws which not only criminalize whistleblowing in agricultural facilities but any private business, including hospitals, elder care facilities, veteran care facilities, and schools.

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Why Are Ag-Gag Laws Harmful?

The ability to investigate, document, and publicize corporate agriculture’s abuses is imperative both to the well-being of animals across the nation—and to our own health and safety.

Download Animal Legal Defense Fund’s Factory Farms & Ag-Gag Laws brochure and share with others!

Factory farms want to keep their cruel practices hidden from the public, but the public deserves the truth about the billions of animals suffering on industrial farms and whether laws are being broken, jeopardizing food safety, workers’ rights, and environmental standards.

Undercover investigations have revealed severe animal abuse on factory farms — animals beaten, kicked, maimed and thrown. These investigations have also exposed standard industry practices like the confinement of pregnant and nursing pigs in crates too small for them to turn around, the removal of horns and tails from animals without anesthesia, and sick and downed cows dragged on the ground before they are slaughtered.

Timeline

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  • June 25, 2019

    The Animal Legal Defense Fund and coalition filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Arkansas’ Ag-Gag law, a law that prohibits undercover investigations that expose abuses at factory farms and other businesses throughout the state.

  • April 22, 2019

    A coalition of public interest groups, led by the Animal Legal Defense Fund, filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa, challenging the constitutionality of Iowa’s new Ag-Gag law — a law substantively similar to the Iowa law struck down earlier in 2019.

  • February 15, 2019

    The Federal District Court for the Southern District of Iowa issues a judgment declaring Iowa Code §717A.3A (the Iowa Ag-Gag statute) unconstitutional and enjoined in its entirety. The judgment prohibits the state from enforcing the law.

  • January 9, 2019

    The Federal District Court for the Southern District of Iowa rules Iowa’s Ag-Gag law unconstitutional in violation of the First Amendment.

  • December 4, 2018

    A coalition of public interest groups filed a lawsuit in Kansas challenging the constitutionality of the state’s Ag-Gag law, which makes it a crime to document animal cruelty at factory farms and slaughterhouses.

  • June 5, 2018

    The Fourth United States Circuit Court of Appeals reverses Judge Schroeder’s decision and reinstates the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of North Carolina’s Ag-Gag law.

  • January 4, 2018

    The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit becomes the first federal appellate court to strike down provisions of an Ag-Gag law, holding that Idaho’s ban on recording conditions at factory farms and slaughterhouses violates the First Amendment.

  • October 10, 2017

    The Animal Legal Defense Fund and coalition file a brief in the Federal District Court for the Southern District of Iowa, challenging Iowa’s Ag-Gag law on the grounds that it violates the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

  • July 7, 2017

    The U.S. District Court of Utah declares Utah’s Ag-Gag statute unconstitutional.

  • May 31, 2016

    The Animal Legal Defense Fund, PETA, and Salt Lake City resident Amy Meyer, file a motion for summary judgment in their challenge to Utah’s notorious Ag-Gag law, seeking to have the law formally struck down as unconstitutional.

  • August 3, 2015

    Idaho Ag-Gag law ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho.

  • March 17, 2014

    Animal Legal Defense Fund and coalition file Ag-Gag lawsuit against the state of Idaho.

  • July 22, 2013

    The Animal Legal Defense Fund and coalition file the nation’s first Ag-Gag lawsuit, against the state of Utah.

Stop Ag-Gag Laws

Undercover investigations and whistleblowers have exposed some of the worst aspects of factory farming, but Ag-Gag laws punish people who speak out about cruelty in animal agriculture. Voice your opposition.

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