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Idaho to Appeal Adverse Decision on “Ag-Gag” Legislation


Apr 19, 2017


A case captioned Animal Legal Defense Fund et al v. Idaho Attorney General will be heard by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.  Four states have enacted similar “Ag Gag” legislation (Utah, North Carolina, Wyoming and Idaho) all of which is undergoing challenge in Federal courts.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund has joined in the suit with other plaintiffs including PETA, the American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho, the Center for Food Safety, Farm Century, Sand Point Vegetarians, Farm Forward and kindred organizations opposed to intensive livestock production.


At issue is the contention by the Plaintiffs that “lies used to reveal and disclose information of public concern demand rigorous First Amendment protection”.  This means that it is justifiable for an agent of a welfare organization to misrepresent their status on an employment form since applying the distorted logic of the welfare activists, this would be in the public interest. 

An official with the Idaho Office of the Attorney General contends that, “The First Amendment does not displace the States’ authority to protect the rights of land owners so they have control over access to their property.  Steven L. Olsen continued, “Gaining access through misrepresentation infringes on that right.” He added “neither journalists nor special interest advocates have any constitutional dispensation from this role”. 

Idaho maintains that the First Amendment does not necessarily apply to an audio or video recording and does not represent speech in itself.


Copyright 2017 Simon M. Shane