Charges against the first offender of Utah’s “ag gag” law were dismissed by prosecutors in late April. Now PETA, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, investigative journalists and animal rights activists are filing a lawsuit challenging the law.
The charges of agricultural operation interference against a Utah woman who used a cellphone to record cows being slaughtered at a meatpacking company were the state’s first under the “ag gag” law. MSN reports prosecutors dismissed the charges as the video was shot from public property.
PETA announced Sunday it is part of a group of a group filing a “groundbreaking lawsuit challenging the law” claiming it is an unconstitutional attack on investigators’ First Amendment rights.
According to the sponsor of the law, its intent is to protect private property rights.
"It has nothing to do with animals — it's people trespassing on farms" to make recordings "they go put it on the Internet," Sen. David Hinkins, R-Orangeville, told the Associated Press. Hinkins is a cattle operator who also breeds race horses.
The law, passed in March 2012, targets animal rights activists who enter private property undercover to shoot audio or video of the livestock operations. Under the law, violators are charged with a class B misdemeanor.