On March 17, the national nonprofit Animal Legal Defense Fund, along with a broad coalition of public interest groups, filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Idaho's recently enacted "ag gag" law. Undercover investigations have routinely revealed sickening acts of animal cruelty on factory farms as well as shocking acts of aggravated abuse-including workers kicking pigs in the head, stomping and throwing chickens and turkeys like footballs, smashing piglets' heads against concrete floors, and beating and sexually assaulting pigs with steel gate rods. Likewise,too-frequent revelations of food safety violations have led to the recall of millions of pounds of tainted animal products.
But Idaho's controversial new ag gag law makes undercover investigations (including photographing or video recording animal abuse without the owner's permission) a crime. Not surprisingly, the dairy industry had a major role in drafting thislaw. Dan Steenson, attorney for the Idaho Dairymen's Association, boasted that he drafted the legislation because "extremist groups implement vigilante tactics," referring to recordings taken inside factory farm operations.