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Victory! Idaho to Pay $260K in Fees to Animal Rights Groups

In a huge victory, a federal court ruled Tuesday that the state of Idaho must pay $260,000 in legal fees to animal rights groups. The decision came after the court ruled that the state’s ag-gag laws, which ban undercover investigations at farms, dairies, and slaughterhouses, violate free speech rights.
Idaho’s original ag-gag law was a direct response to a 2012 Mercy For Animals undercover investigation that showed workers at Bettencourt Dairies in southern Idaho beating and stomping cows and even using a tractor to drag a cow by a chain attached to her neck.

Factory farmers didn’t like what we exposed, so in 2014, the Idaho Dairymen’s Association drafted and sponsored an ag-gag bill, which was signed into law. This law created a new crime: “interference with agricultural production.” It essentially criminalized undercover investigations at factory farms. People caught filming faced up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine.

But PETA, ALDF, and other groups sued to fight the unjust law—and they won. A federal judge overturned this dangerous law last August for violating the First Amendment and Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution.

“We hope this award sends a strong message that ag-gag laws, which are designed to insulate factory farms from public scrutiny, are not only bad policy but illegal as well,” John Seber of MFA said in a statement to The Associated Press.

It sure will! Hopefully, these un-American ag-gag laws will all be struck down, one by one.

No matter where you live, you can take a stand against factory farm corruption by refusing to pay for it. Please click here to learn how to move toward compassionate plant-based eating.