Nation’s Oldest Ag-Gag Law Ruled Unconstitutional

On January 22, 2020, a federal district court in Kansas struck down a majority of the state’s ag-gag law for violating the First Amendment. The law, enacted in 1990, banned individuals from going undercover to film at agricultural operations within the state. Laws such as this protect industrial agriculture operations by criminalizing investigations into how animals are raised. Undercover investigations, which often involve activists photographing and filming the miserable conditions at factory farms, are critical for the public to gain an understanding of farm and slaughter practices in the United States, and are often the only way for cruel practices to be revealed. 

Similar ag-gag laws have been struck down across the country, including laws in Idaho, Iowa, and Utah. Challenges to Arkansas’s and North Carolina’s ag-gag laws are ongoing, but the success in Kansas and other states is encouraging.

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