North Carolina’s So-Called ‘Ag-Gag’ Law Is Unconstitutional

DTN writer Todd Neeley reported earlier this month that, “A federal judge [on June 12th] ruled North Carolina’s so-called ‘ag-gag’ law is unconstitutional, in yet another loss for laws across the country designed to prevent animal-rights groups from conducting undercover investigations of livestock operations.

“A number of animal-rights groups, including People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, filed the lawsuit claiming the state’s law would make it legally risky to conduct undercover investigations of animal-research laboratories at the University of North Carolina and Chapel Hill.

“The North Carolina General Assembly passed the law on June 3, 2015, denying then-Gov. Patrick McCrory’s veto.”

The DTN article noted that, “The North Carolina law prohibited anyone from intentionally gaining access to non-public areas and ‘engages in an act that exceeds the person’s authority to enter those areas is liable to the owner or operator of the premises for any damages sustained.’

“The North Carolina Farm Bureau was an intervenor in the case.

“Unlike similar laws in other states, violating the North Carolina law could result in civil penalties, as opposed to violations of criminal code in other states.”

Mr. Neeley explained that, “Similar laws also have been found unconstitutional in Kansas, Idaho, Utah and Wyoming.

“Laws currently remain in effect in Montana, North Dakota, Missouri, Arkansas and Alabama.

“[Earlier in June], Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed into law the state’s third ag-gag law, as the state continues to fight in court for its second version of the law aimed at stopping undercover animal rights groups from entering livestock facilities.”

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