Iowa’s Ag-Gag law criminalizes undercover investigations at a broad range of animal facilities including factory farms, puppy mills, and slaughterhouses, preventing advocates from exposing animal cruelty and environmental, workers’ rights, and food safety violations. The law achieved its goal of suppressing undercover investigations; no investigations have taken place since the law’s passage in 2012.
“Ag-Gag laws are a pernicious attempt by animal exploitation industries to hide some of the worst forms of animal abuse in the United States,” says Animal Legal Defense Fund Executive Director Stephen Wells. “Today’s victory makes it clear that the government cannot protect these industries at the expense of our constitutional rights.”
For more than a century, the public has relied on undercover investigations to expose illegal and cruel practices on factory farms and slaughterhouses. No federal laws govern the condition in which farmed animals are raised, and laws addressing slaughter and transport are laxly enforced. Undercover investigations are the primary avenue through which the public receives information about animal agriculture operations. Iowa is the biggest producer of pigs raised for meat and hens raised for eggs in the United States, making it critically important that investigations there are not suppressed.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund, the preeminent legal advocacy organization for animals in the United States, led coalitions to strike down Ag-Gag laws in Idaho and Utah. Litigation against the North Carolina Ag-Gag law is ongoing.
The plaintiffs in the lawsuit are the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, Bailing Out Benji, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and the Center for Food Safety. They are represented by the Animal Legal Defense Fund, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Iowa, Public Justice, and the Law Office of Matthew Strugar.
Featured image: A cow at a diary farm in Sweden. In the United States, Ag-Gag laws prevent investigators from exposing when cows and other farmed animals are being subjected to cruel conditions. Image credit We Animals / Jo-Anne McArthur.
Thank you for visiting our animal defence section. Before leaving, please join us in a moment of compassion and reflection.The wheels of business and human food compulsions are implacable and totally lacking in compassion. This is a downed cow, badly hurt, but still being dragged to slaughter. Click on this image to fully appreciate this horror repeated millions of times every day around the world. With plentiful non-animal meat substitutes that fool the palate, there is no longer reason for this senseless suffering. Meat consumption is a serious ecoanimal crime. The tyranny of the palate must be broken. Please consider changing your habits and those around you in this regard.