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Titlesort descending Author Citation Alternate Citation Summary Type
Ag-gag Laws Alicia Prygoski

Brief Summary of Ag-gag Laws
Alicia Prygoski (2015)

Topical Introduction
AL - Ecoterrorism - Article 6A. Farm Animal, Crop, and Research Facilities Protection Act. Ala. Code 1975 § 13A-11-150 - 158 AL ST § 13A-11-150 to 158

This article is known as the “Farm Animal, Crop, and Research Facilities Protection Act.” Under the Act, it is unlawful for any person to intentionally release, steal, destroy, or otherwise cause loss of any animal or crop from an animal or crop facility without the consent of the owner. Other illegal actions include vandalizing obtaining access by false pretenses for the purpose of performing acts not authorized by the facility, and possession of records obtained by theft or deception without authorization of the facility. Violation results in a Class C felony if the loss $250 or more or a Class A misdemeanor if the loss is less $250.

Statute
Animal Industry Interference (Ecoterrorism/Agroterrorism) Cynthia Hodges

Brief Summary of Animal Industry Interference ("Ag-Gag") Laws
Cynthia Hodges (2011)

Topical Introduction
Animal Legal Def. Fund v. Otter Not Reported in F.Supp.3d, 2015 WL 4623943 (D. Idaho Aug. 3, 2015) The Animal Legal Defense Fund, and various other organizations and individuals, challenge Idaho Code § 18–7042 as unconstitutional. Section 18-7042 criminalizes undercover investigations of agricultural production facilities. ALDF alleges that § 18–7042 has both the purpose and effect of stifling public debate about modern agriculture and raises two substantive constitutional challenges against the State: (1) violation of the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment; and (2) violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Court first found that § 18–7042 is both content and viewpoint based, and thus, must survive the highest level of scrutiny. The Court held that the law does not survive strict scrutiny because it "would contravene strong First Amendment values to say the State has a compelling interest in affording these heavily regulated facilities extra protection from public scrutiny." Even if the interests in property and privacy of these industries is compelling, the law is not narrowly tailored as it restricts more speech than necessary and poses a "particularly serious threat to whistleblowers' free speech rights." Finally, the Court found that the law also violated the Equal Protection clause because the law was spurred by an improper animus toward animal welfare groups, furthers no legitimate or rational purpose, and classifies activities protected by the First Amendment based on content. ALDF's motion for summary judgment was granted. Case
Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Herbert 2013 WL 4017889 (D. Utah July 22, 2013) The Animal Legal Defense Fund and other plaintiffs challenged Utah Code Ann. § 76-6-112, which criminalizes recording images or sounds at industrialized farming operations, and entering industrialized farming operations by false pretenses or misrepresentation. The Plaintiffs alleged that § 76-6-112 violated the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Defendants moved to dismiss on the grounds that the Plaintiffs had not suffered actual harm, and thus did not have standing. The U.S. District Court Judge dismissed some Plaintiffs from the case, but allowed it to move forward. Case
Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Herbert This complaint launches the first legal challenge to any ag-gag law in the United States. In it, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Amy Meyer, and others argue that Utah Code Ann. § 76-6-112 is unconstitutionally overbroad, constitutes content-based discrimination in violation of the First Amendment, is preempted by the federal False Claims Act, and violates animal protection groups’ equal protection and due process. Pleading
Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Herbert Slip Copy 2017 WL 2912423 (D. Utah July 7, 2017) This case deals with the constitutionality of Utah's "ag gag" law, enacted in 2012. The law criminalizes lying to obtain access to an agricultural operation and the subsequent recording or filming once inside. According to statements made enactment, it is directed at undercover operations that investigate farm animal abuse. Plaintiffs assert that the law violates their First Amendment rights. On review of motions, the court first looked at whether the First Amendment applies to this type of "lying." Because a recent U.S. Supreme Court case makes lying that causes "cognizable legal harm" outside the protection of the First Amendment, the court examined the type of lying at issue in the Utah law. Ultimately, the court found that lying to gain access to these agricultural facilities does not in itself cause a legally cognizable harm. Thus, "absent an additional showing of harm, under either interpretation, at least some of the lies criminalized by the Act retain First Amendment protection." With regard to First Amendment protections for the act of recording once at an agricultural operation and whether a strict scrutiny standard applies, the court looked to other circuits that found the act of making speech (i.e., recording/filming) is protected. The State countered with the fact that such recording occurs on private property, but the court found the government cannot place criminal restrictions on speech simply because it occurs on private property. The court noted that the property owner can indeed remove the person from the property and sue for any damages resulting from the trespass, which is different than prosecution by the state to curtail speech. Finally, after finding that the act impinges protected speech, the court then analyzed whether it withstood a strict scrutiny review. The State proffered government interests that include concerns over worker protection and disease outbreak. However, the court noted nothing in the legislative history on these claims or any actual incidents that supported these asserted government interests. The court found the Act did not survive strict scrutiny as it was not narrowly tailored and instead was directed at the content of the speech (the act of recording a facility). The Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment was granted and the State's Motion for Summary Judgment was denied. Case
Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Otter 44 F. Supp. 3d 1009 (D. Idaho 2014) 2014 WL 4388158 (D. Idaho, 2014) In a ‘hold your tongue and challenge now’ First Amendment challenge to an Idaho statute that criminalizes undercover investigations and videography at “agricultural production facilities,” the Animal Legal Defense Fund, as well as various other organizations and individuals, (collectively, “ALDF”), brought suit. The State defendants, Governor Butch Otter and Attorney General Lawrence Wasden, moved to dismiss the ALDF's claims. The claims against the Governor were dismissed under 11th Amendment immunity because the ALDF failed to explain the requisite connection between the Governor and enforcement of section 18–7024. The court also found that since the ALDF failed to allege a concrete plan to violate subsection (e), it lacked standing to challenge section 18–7042(1)(e) and the claim in regards to that provision was therefore dismissed. However, the ALDF’s First Amendment, bare animus Equal Protection, and preemption claims survived the motion to dismiss. Case
Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Reynolds 297 F.Supp.3d 901 (S.D. Iowa, 2018) 297 F.Supp.3d 901 Plaintiffs, a collection of local and national non-profit organizations brought this action alleging that Iowa Code § 717A.3A, which criminalizes agrigcultural facility fraud by either obtaining access to an agricultural facility on false pretenses or making a false statement or false representation in regard to the application or agreement to be employed by an agricultural facility, impeded their ability to advocate for their respective causes. Some of the non-profit organizations listed as plaintiffs, engaged in undercover investigations where investigators serve as employees at argricultural facilities to gather information about the inner workings of slaughterhouses and other facilities. The plaintiffs alleged that the Iowa statute was unconstitutional on its face becuase it violated the First Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Discrict Court determined that the plaintiffs have standing to make their claim and have an injury sufficient to suppor their standing. The defendants sought a motion to dismiss. The District Court ultimately denied the motion to dismiss with respect to the First Amendment claim and granted the motion to dismiss with respect to the Equal Protection claim. Case
Animal Lovers and Tree Huggers Are the New Cold-Blooded Criminals?: Examining the Flaws of Ecoterroism Bills Dara Lovitz 3 J. Animal L. 79 (2007)

Animal lovers and tree huggers were once deemed peaceful and benevolent activists. As our nation witnessed the increase in powerful lobbying on behalf of wealthy industries, that identity has been shattered by offensive epithets and reckless generalizations. Now those who preach kindness to the non-human species and respect for the environment are dumped into the same category as the group of individuals who fly planes into buildings and don explosive materials in high-traffic areas - those whose every violent action is designed to maim or murder a large number of innocent civilians. The defective grouping resulted from the gross mistake of legislatures across the country that enacted the fundamentally flawed so-called “eco terror bills.”

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