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The Idaho Statesman reports that U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill yesterday ruled that "an Idaho law making it illegal to secretly film animal abuse at agricultural facilities violates the right to free speech."

The law in question, referred to as an "ag-gag law," was passed in 2014 after an animal rights group took and released video showing the inhumane treatment of cows at an Idaho dairy. Business interests pushed for the law as a way of protecting themselves from journalists, activists and whistleblowers, but the law was challenged in the courts by a number of these activist groups.

“The effect of the statute will be to suppress speech by undercover investigators and whistleblowers concerning topics of great public importance: the safety of the public food supply, the safety of agricultural workers, the treatment and health of farm animals, and the impact of business activities on the environment,” Judge Winmill said in his ruling.

The Idaho Attorney General’s Office has not yet indicated whether it will appeal.
KC's View:
Good for the judge. Such laws have no business being on the books, since they serve to protect people and companies that engage in bad behavior. They are a crock, serving to obscure and hide the truth, not expose it.

Do animal rights activists always get it right? Of course not. But as I've said here before, another way to characterize "ag-gag" laws is to call them "CYA" laws.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis said it best: "Sunlight is the best disinfectant."