On the heels of triumphant news for animals, that Utah’s ag-gag law, struck down by a federal judge as unconstitutional, is officially dead, a similar law in Iowa is now being challenged in court by animal protection groups.
As organizations like Compassion Over Killing have shown time and again, undercover investigations are the most vital tool we have to shed light on the vast suffering of farmed animals, kept hidden behind closed doors.
Ag-gag laws are dangerous legislation that aim to prevent whistleblowers from exposing the truth to the public, and that’s just what the new suit alleges about Iowa’s law, calling into question its constitutionality.
Filed by Animal Legal Defense Fund, Center for Food Safety, PETA, and others, the new complaint states, “The Iowa Ag-Gag law is part of the animal agriculture industry’s nationwide campaign to silence the undercover investigations and corresponding media coverage that contribute to public debate about animal treatment and food safety.”
The suit further claims that the law was intended specifically to target free speech by animal advocates and protect animal agribusiness interests:
“The Iowa law infringes the rights of Plaintiffs and gives the agriculture industry a virtual monopoly on the most relevant and probative speech on a topic that is of vital importance to the public, thereby allowing the industry to provide a misleading account of its activities and hide violations of animal cruelty, labor, environmental, and food safety laws.”
The meat, egg, and dairy industries desperately try to hide the suffering of billions of animals on factory farms, flexing their lobbying muscles to prompt states to pass ag-gag laws.
Yet, investigations continue to reveal these hidden horrors, and the need for ag-gag laws to be relegated to the dustbins of history — to protect animals, consumers, and workers.