Judge Overturns Utah’s ‘Ag-Gag’ Ban On Undercover Filming At Farms

A federal judge has ruled Utah’s ban on secretly filming farm and slaughterhouse operations is unconstitutional, striking down what critics call an “ag-gag” law that Utah enacted in 2012.

The ban violates the First Amendment’s free-speech protections, U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby said.

Shelby rejected the state’s defense of the law, saying Utah had failed to show the ban was intended to ensure the safety of animals and farm workers from disease or injury.

In his ruling, Shelby noted that one of the bill’s sponsors in the state legislature, Rep. John Mathis, said the ban was a response to “a trend nationally of some propaganda groups … with a stated objective of undoing animal agriculture in the United States.” The judge noted that another sponsor, Sen. David Hinkins said it targeted “vegetarian people that [are] trying to kill the animal industry.”
 

 

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