Challenging Kansas’s Ag-Gag Law
Animal Legal Defense Fund et. al. v. Kelly et. al.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund 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.
SCOTUS declined to review
April 25, 2022 Update: Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly and Attorney General Derek Schmidt’s petition asking the U.S. Supreme Court of the United States to review the Animal Legal Defense Fund-led coalition victory which struck down the law as unconstitutional is declined. The victory stands! Read the full press release.
On December 5, 2018, The Animal Legal Defense Fund — with the Center for Food Safety, Public Justice, and Kansas-area farmed animal organizations, Shy 38, Inc., and Hope Sanctuary — 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.
Who is being sued, why, and under what law? The lawsuit was brought against Kansas’s governor and attorney general, on the grounds that the Ag-Gag law violates the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Enacted in 1990, the Kansas Ag-Gag law is the oldest such law in the United States, and has deterred undercover investigations at animal facilities, including factory farms, for nearly three decades.
What court is the lawsuit filed in? The United States District Court for the District of Kansas.
Why this case is important: Kansas is a major producer of cows, pigs, and other animals raised for human consumption. Virtually all of these animals are raised in inhumane Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO), also known as factory farms, where animals undergo routine mutilations and intensive confinement before they are trucked to slaughter.
Kansas’s Ag-Gag law has prevented whistleblowers from investigating the cruel conditions that millions of animals endure. Recent undercover investigations at animal agriculture facilities outside Kansas have uncovered abusive and illegal treatment of animals, as well as violations of laws intended to protect the safety of workers and the general public.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund led coalitions that successfully struck down significant parts of Ag-Gag laws in Utah and Idaho. We continue to challenge Ag-Gag laws in the states where they are still in effect.
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