This is NOT a defense of cruelty to animals in farming, but this is a chilling ruling by a US Appeals Court that, apparently, it’s ok to sneak on someone’s property and film on their property, then share that video with the public. This is now a thing in America that is now a “constitutional” right, apparently.
Idaho’s ban on spying at farms, dairies and slaughterhouses violated free speech rights, a federal appeals court ruled last week.
“The panel held that the subsection criminalized innocent behavior, was staggeringly overbroad, and that the purpose of the statute was, in large part, targeted at speech and investigative journalists,” wrote U.S. Circuit Judge M. Margaret McKeown in a 56-page ruling.
Idaho lawmakers in 2014 passed the law making it a crime to surreptitiously videotape agriculture operations after the state’s $2.5 billion dairy industry complained that videos of cows being abused at a dairy two years earlier unfairly hurt their businesses.
The measure passed easily in Idaho, where agriculture is not only one of the leading businesses but also the occupation of many state lawmakers.
Animal rights activists, civil rights groups and media organizations quickly sued once the bill received the governor’s signature, arguing the law criminalized a long tradition of undercover journalism and would require people who expose wrongdoing to pay restitution to the businesses they target.