The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, a non-profit coalition of journalists, is set to join the activist groups challenging Utah's so-called "ag-gag" laws that prevent journalists from reporting on what goes on inside slaughterhouses. Says Public News Service:
A court challenge under way claims Utah's Agriculture Operation Interference law violates the First Amendment right to free speech. The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press will be filing a friend of the court brief in federal District Court in Salt Lake City today.
The "friend of the court brief," also called an Amicus Curiae, can be filed by a party that is not involved with the case, but still wants to weigh in on it. The case in question was brought by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and the Animal Legal Defense Fund back in July, and says that the law seeks "to punish the whistleblowers and investigators who expose inhumane and illegal conduct on factory farms and at slaughterhouses, instead of going after the people who commit these crimes."
While the Reporters Committee for Freedom is not directly involved in the litigation, Gregg Leslie, legal defense director, told PNS that the law makes it nearly impossible to expose possible cruelty and abuses. "People have a right to know how food is handled how animals are treated in slaughterhouses and in any other kind of facility."