BOISE – The American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho and other groups filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the state's 'ag-gag' law
, which prohibits undercover filming at agricultural operations. Gov. C.L. Otter signed the bill in February.
The bill imposes fines of $5,000 and a year in jail to those caught taking hidden-camera videos at "an agricultural production facility". But the state's definition of an agricultural production facility is so broad that it stifles speech that advances the public interest, plaintiffs argue.
"The law makes it criminal to document animal-welfare, worker- safety and food-safety violations at an ‘agricultural production facility,’ thus ‘gagging’ speech that is critical of industrial agriculture, including speech that advances significant public interests in protecting Idahoans’ safety," the lawsuit states. "The statute defines ‘agricultural production facility’ so broadly that it applies not only to factory farms and slaughterhouses, but also to public parks, restaurants, nursing homes, grocery stores, pet stores and virtually every public accommodation and private residence in the state. In doing so, the statute violates the First Amendment, the Supremacy Clause, and the Fourteenth Amendment of the US Constitution."
was filed in the US District Court for the District of Idaho by the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the ACLU of Idaho (ACLU), and the Center for Food Safety (CFS).