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ACLU cites free speech in suit against Idaho’s ‘ag gag’ law

General March 18, 2014

By Laura Zuckerman SALMON, Idaho (Reuters) – The American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho on Monday asked a federal judge to strike down a state law it says violates constitutional rights to free speech by banning the documentation of animal abuse at livestock operations. The law in Idaho, which makes it illegal to take photos or videos at farms or slaughterhouses without the operators’ permission, was passed last month by the Republican-led state legislature and signed by Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter. Lawmakers who support the law say it is necessary to protect the agricultural industry, which adds billions of dollars to the Idaho economy, from unfair and biased investigations. But the ACLU, animal rights group PETA, the Center for Food Safety and other environmental and political groups argued in the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Boise on Monday that the law violates free speech rights enshrined in the U.S. constitution.

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