Nation’s Oldest Ag Gag Law Struck Down

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A federal judge has ruled that provisions in a Kansas law that ban the secret filming at slaughterhouses and other livestock facilities unconstitutionally criminalize free speech.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund led a coalition of opponents that sued Kansas in December 2018 to challenge the constitutionality of the law, which was first enacted in 1990 and stood as the oldest such law protecting the property rights of livestock owners.

U.S. District Judge Kathryn Vratil mostly sided with a coalition of animal rights and consumer protection groups which had challenged the state’s “Ag-Gag” law. The law makes it a crime for anyone to take a picture or video at animal facilities without the owner’s consent or to enter them under false pretenses. The judge says the Kansas law only targets negative views about animal facilities.

Federal courts also have struck down such laws in Idaho, Iowa and Utah as unconstitutional. ALDF has similar litigation ongoing in North Carolina and Arkansas.