In a major victory for both animal and human rights, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld as unconstitutional a Kansas law that would have stifled documentation critical of the animal agriculture industry.
In 2018, the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) sued the State of Kansas over an implemented law that effectively made it a crime for undercover investigators or whistleblowers to reveal violations at factory farms and slaughterhouses, including through videos, articles, advocacy efforts or public dialogue.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit ruled that the law violated the First Amendment and struck it down as unconstitutional, also saying in the ruling that violations within the agricultural industry are a matter of public concern.
The Supreme Court recently declined to review that decision, meaning that the lower court’s decision will stand.
Stephen Wells, ALDF’s executive director, said that decision is a win for transparency and animals, but also for human workers and human health.
“Until there are cameras publicly broadcasting the conditions within factory farms and slaughterhouses, investigations are the country’s only opportunity to see the horrific ‘industry standard’ conditions under which food is made,” he said.
Nine other recent lawsuits have resulted in courts striking down other ag-gag laws, in whole or in part, in Iowa, North Carolina, Idaho, Utah, and Wyoming.
One of the most controversial cases making headlines right now is the Supreme Court’s decision to review California’s Proposition 12, which went into effect at the start of this year and aims to protect animals from extreme confinement in factory farms.
If you haven’t already, please sign our petition in support of Prop 12 so that no more innocent farmed animals have to suffer their entire lives in cramped and degrading conditions.