We filed a federal lawsuit against Idaho.

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Constitutional Challenge Made to State’s Attempt to Silence Factory Farm Whistle-Blowers

Contact:   Daniel Hauff, DHAPR Group 312.650.9210

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

BOISE — A coalition of organizations dedicated to civil liberties, animal protection, food safety, labor rights, and the environment, along with journalists and experts in covert operations, filed a federal lawsuit to overturn Idaho’s newly passed “ag gag” statute, signed into law by Idaho governor C.L. “Butch” Otter on February 28. The lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of Idaho’s ag gag law (Idaho Code sec. 18-7042), and was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho by national nonprofits Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho (ACLU), and the Center for Food Safety (CFS). Idaho is the seventh state to pass an ag gag law, and the first to do so since 2012.

The U.S. Constitution protects free speech and freedom of the press, including journalistic exposés of industrial animal production. Like other ag gag laws, Idaho’s statute criminalizes whistle-blowing investigations at factory farms, and specifically targets animal advocates who expose illegal and cruel practices. Idaho’s ag gag law makes it illegal for anyone to take photos or videos at a factory farm or slaughterhouse without the owner’s express consent. If convicted under the ag gag law, a whistle-blower would face up to a year in prison and a $5,000 fine. By comparison, the maximum jail term for a first-offense conviction of animal cruelty in Idaho is six months. In other words, Idaho more severely punishes those who expose cruelty to animals than those who commit it. Continue reading

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Utah Governor Tries to Throw Out My Lawsuit. Foolish.

E6 Cattle Co. in Hart, Texas, where workers bashed the heads of calves with pickaxes by direction of owner. After Hauff met with prosecutors, charges were filed against six workers, the foreman, and the owner.

E6 Cattle Co. in Hart, Texas, where workers bashed the heads of calves with pickaxes by direction of owner. After Hauff met with prosecutors, charges were filed against six workers, the foreman, and the owner.

Talk about unconvincing!

The State of Utah filed a motion to dismiss our landmark “ag gag” lawsuit on Friday.

Lame.

Our case challenges the state’s ag gag law. It’s a clear violation of our rights and makes whistleblowers and watchdogs “criminals” merely for documenting cruelty to animals and using the evidence to expose the abusers. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of myself and the following: ALDF, PETA, the political journal CounterPunch, journalists Will Potter and Jesse Fruhwirth, and professor James McWilliams.

We all rely on undercover investigations in our professional work. In our own way, each of us exposes egregious cruelty to animals and, of course, food safety violations. Continue reading

I am now a plaintiff.

Today in Salt Lake City, Utah, the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) filed an historic lawsuit that challenges the constitutionality of “ag gag” laws. Given my years overseeing some of the most important undercover investigations for farmed animals in U.S. history, I am a plaintiff in the case.

Ag-Gag laws are unconstitutional.

What better way to show how much animal agribusinesses have to hide than for them to push for laws that violate our constitutional rights and target a specific demographic of “rabble-rousers?” Some of my biggest heroes are the people who wire up with hidden cameras and pull back the curtain on the meat, egg, and dairy industries. They show us exactly what would happen on any other day.

We legally expose and educate the public on all of the gruesome violations of basic human decency to those who are incapable of fighting back – nonhuman animals – and I ask that you stand with us in this fight.

Continue reading