Arkansas “Ag-Gag” Law Challenged as Unconstitutional

Associated Press writer Hannah Grabenstein reported yesterday that, “A legal advocacy organization has filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging an Arkansas state law that farm organizations have used to shield themselves from undercover investigations by animal rights groups.

“Lawyers for the Animal Legal Defense Fund and other animal rights organizations filed the suit Tuesday against state Rep. DeAnn Vaught and her husband, who own a pig farm, and Peco Foods, an Alabama-based poultry farm with Arkansas facilities.

“The suit argues that the 2017 law, which was sponsored by Vaught and bars undercover investigations at private businesses like large farms, violates the First Amendment to the Constitution by banning a form of speech.”

The AP article noted that, “The lawsuit also claims that the wording of the law is too broad. As written, it prohibits a person from gaining access to a ‘nonpublic area of a commercial property,’ and in any way capturing or recording damaging information, wording that lawyers say would prohibit a parent from documenting problems at a daycare or a customer from recording illegal conduct in the backroom of a store.

A federal judge struck down a similar Iowa law in January, though Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a different law in March that prosecutes people who conduct undercover investigations.”

“Federal courts have ruled against other ‘ag-gag’ laws in Idaho, Utah and Wyoming, and litigation is ongoing in North Carolina,” the AP article said.

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