Is Idaho’s Ag Gag law unconstitutional? According to a federal district court judge, it is.
What is this oddly named law? Section 18-7042 is Idaho’s way of keeping the public and possible organizations like PETA from seeing the process that happens in the production of meat we eat every day. Ideally it isn’t meant to keep everything “hush-hush” as much as to keep the disturbing images out of the public eye.
Every day, numerous cattle and other farm animals are placed in machines while men or other machines routinely cut them up and turn them from barnyard animals into choice cuts of beef, chicken, pork, and other meats. Idaho wants to keep those images out of the public eye because they can be downright grotesque.
This means that reporters and other civilians are prohibited from photographing or filming a slaughterhouse or any facility which “processes” animals. According to Chief US District Judge B. Lynn Winmill, it is a violation of free speech, which happens to be the first amendment.
This ruling has enabled lobbyists and reporters to move forward on the Idaho Ag Gag lawsuit because it violates the constitution.
This literally means that the public has the right to see images of cows being disemboweled and chopped into pieces, but not pictures of nude celebrities who happened to be underage at the time the photo was taken.
Idaho is actually the seventh state to incorporate the law that makes it a criminal offense to photograph or film a slaughterhouse. Even labor union representatives are not allowed on the premises to resolve disputes of possible criminal activities.
Judge Winmill stated in the ruling, “Misrepresentations would be protected speech. Because they are not made to cause material harm to an agricultural production facility but to expose truths about the agricultural industry.”
This ruling over the Idaho Ag Gag law could change a lot about the way meat is processed if the press is allowed to photograph slaughterhouses. Companies like PETA and ACLU of Idaho could demand them shut down in the name of animal cruelty and possibly raise the price of meat as a result.
Even a dairy farm stood behind Idaho’s law earlier this year because a video revealed cows being abused, and it hurt their business. Now that same law may be eliminated and could start a vegan movement like the United States has never seen before.
Obviously, both sides have a solid reason behind their stance.
What do you think of the federal judge ruling the Idaho Ag Gag law unconstitutional?
[image via Shutterstock]