Friday, January 11, 2019

Federal judge strikes down Iowa 'ag-gag' law, one of many

Status of state "ag-gag" laws
A federal judge in Iowa struck down a state law that banned undercover investigations at factory farms and other agriculture operations, saying it violated the First Amendment.

The law was passed in 2012 just after several such investigations by animal-rights organizations brought unflattering attention to some of Iowa's large-scale farms, recording workers throwing pigs against the floor or burning hens' beaks off without painkillers. Because many undercover investigators gained access to facilities by getting jobs there, the law made it illegal to obtain access to an agricultural production facility "by false pretenses," Matthew Schwartz reports for NPR.

Such statutes, commonly called ag-gag laws, have been considered or attempted by legislatures in at least 25 states, and passed in 11 states. After Utah and Wyoming, Iowa is the third state where federal courts have struck them down, Emily Moon reports for Pacific Standard.

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