A free speech lawsuit against the Kansas State Fair has been threatened by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
At issue is a 13-minute video PETA wants to show at its booth at the Kansas State Fair containing undercover images from slaughterhouses and factory farms. The video, narrated by ex-Beatle and vegetarian Paul McCartney, is described as “gruesome” by PETA.
The Kansas State Fair has told PETA they can’t show a video or pictures “that depict animal slaughter, animal harvest, hide removal, or show or depict live animals being decapitated, dismembered or butchered.” Further, such images must “not be readily visible to passersby or the general public on any side of the booth.”
The Wichita Eagle reports that the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas and Western Missouri and a Kansas City law firm have agreed to represent PETA in a potential federal suit. The ACLU believes the state fair is imposing a content-based restriction on PETA’s speech that is blatantly unconstitutional.
In a news release defending the video’s content and the group’s right to show it, PETA executive vice president Tracy Reiman said, "Meat comes from intelligent, feeling animals who suffer every day of their lives on factory farms and experience a painful and terrifying death at slaughterhouses. People who eat meat deserve to know the truth. The truth isn't always pleasant, but you don't get around it by denying people their constitutional rights."