Idaho isn’t backing down from its so-called “ag gag” law and has asked a federal court to toss a lawsuit brought against the state by the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) and others in a coalition of animal activists, civil rights groups and media organizations.
The Associated Press reports in an article here that attorneys for Idaho Gov. C.L “Butch” Otter and Attorney General Lawrence Wasden filed the motion to dismiss the lawsuit last week, saying the law violates neither free speech nor equal protection, and the coalition doesn’t have the standing to challenge it.
"ALDF attacks a statute that it wishes had passed. The statute actually passed has nothing to do with speech or employee whistleblowing," the state's attorneys wrote in the motion.
“The statute actually passed has nothing to do with speech or employee whistleblowing,” they wrote in a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, according to Food Safety News. Instead, they say the law to protect the state’s agricultural production facilities deals with specific forms of conduct by non-employees who gain access through force, threat, or misrepresentation.
“The law may interfere with ALDF’s preferred business model, but as a statute applicable to all individuals’ and organizations’ conduct, it violates neither Free Speech nor the Equal Protection Clause,” Clay R. Smith and Carl J. Withroe, deputy Idaho attorneys general, wrote.
Otter signed the “ag gag” bill into law in February, putting anyone convicted of recording hidden camera video inside an agricultural operation in jail for a year in addition to a $5,000 fine. The law has since drawn attention – and opinions – from across the state and country.