Iowa Sued Again Over Unconstitutional Ag Gag Law

Today, my office, along with the Animal Legal Defense Fund, the ACLU of Iowa, PETA, the Center for Food Safety, Public Justice, and others, once again filed suit challenging Iowa’s second Ag Gag law.

Ag gag laws criminalize undercover investigations at factory farms and slaughterhouses, gagging animal rights activists and ensuring animal cruelty and inhumane working conditions go unreported.

Our coalition has defeated Ag Gag laws in Idaho and Utah and has challenges pending to laws in Kansas and North Carolina. We also defeated Iowa’s first Ag Gag law. The state was ordered to pay more than $180,000 in attorneys’ fees in that case.

In response to the federal court declaring that Iowa’s first Ag Gag law was unconstitutional, the state simply passed another. The new lawsuit seeks to enjoin enforcement of this latest law.

Read the complaint here.

The lawsuit contends that Iowa’s Ag Gag law violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

My office, along with other members of the coalition, have already been successful in striking down Ag Gag laws in Idaho and Utah as unconstitutional.

Iowa is one of the largest states for industrial animal agriculture. Iowa is by far the country’s biggest producer of pigs raised for meat and hens raised for eggs. More than 20 million pigs and 45 million egg-laying hens are raised in Iowa each year, with tens of millions more cows, chickens, turkeys, and goats raised in the state. The vast majority of these animals are raised on factory farms, subject to intensive confinement, routine mutilations, and deplorable conditions.

Undercover investigations are one of the few ways for the public to receive critical information about animal agriculture operations. A 2012 consumer survey conducted by Purdue University’s Department of Agricultural Economics and Department of Animal Sciences found that the public relies on the information gathered and presented by animal protection groups and investigative journalists more than they rely on industry groups and the government combined.

View the complaint here.