In January, Iowa became the latest state to have its ag-gag law overturned by the courts, a victory for free speech and animal-rights advocates. But the victory was short-lived. This month the state’s legislators revived ag-gag with a new law that targets undercover investigations into livestock farms — and it comes as ag-gag supporters across the country are looking to craft laws that will survive constitutional challenges.(No paywall)
The U.S. District Court in Wyoming ruled Monday that the state’s ag-gag laws are unconstitutional. The ruling comes after several years of litigation between the state and plaintiffs who argued the laws were written solely to deter monitoring of the effects of agriculture on the state’s water, land, and air.
The Humane Society of the United States “finds itself ensnared in a widening controversy over sexual harassment in the upper levels of the nonprofit’s management,” said Politico Magazine. The publication describes complaints by six women of improper behavior by Paul Shapiro, an HSUS vice president.
Wayne Pacelle, the scourge of the U.S. meat industry in his role as chief executive of the Humane Society of the United States, is the subject of three complaints of sexual harassment, said the Washington Post.
In their rush to protect farmers from adverse publicity, Idaho legislators enacted an unconstitutional, “staggeringly overbroad” muzzle of free speech and investigative reporting, ruled U.S. appeals court judges in Seattle.
McDonald’s will now require chicken suppliers, including Tyson and Cargill, to treat animals more humanely at slaughter. “Birds sold to the chain ... no longer will be shocked, shackled by the feet to conveyors and have their throats slit ...,” says The Los Angeles Times. “Such methods can leave chickens fully conscious when they are slaughtered.”
A coalition of consumer, free speech and animal rights groups filed suit in federal court in Des Moines to challenge the constitutionality of Iowa's "ag gag" law, enacted in 2012. Iowa is the No. 1 state for hog and egg production and the largest target yet by campaigners against state laws that criminalize undercover employment on farms and at packing plants.
Animal welfare activists, led by the Humane Society of the United States, have filed papers in California to introduce an initiative that would make all eggs cage-free in the state by 2022.
Siding with animal-rights activists, U.S. district judge Robert Shelby ruled that Utah's so-called "ag gag" law is an unconstitutional violation of the right of free speech, said the Salt Lake Tribune. Legislators in a variety of states have pursued the laws, which prohibit surreptitious recording of farming practices, following graphic accounts of mistreatment of livestock.