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

Antibiotics for Livestock

Photo credit: ecowatch.com

Photo credit: ecowatch.com

Bruce Friedrich serves as senior policy director for Farm Sanctuary, a national farmed animal protection organization. He wrote an excellent letter to the editor published in the NY Times in response to a recent editorial regarding antibiotic use on farms. See and comment on Mr. Friedrich’s letter to the NY Times here.

To the Editor:

Re “The Peril of Antibiotic Use on Farms” (editorial, Dec. 22):

The Food and Drug Administration’s antibiotic “guidance” is worse than complete inaction, because it implies that if pharmaceutical companies and industrial farms comply with the F.D.A.’s suggestions, antibiotic use will decline. But the agency is asking drug companies only to change its labels — removing statements that the antibiotics can be used to promote livestock growth — and asking farms to ensure that drugs are used solely to treat, prevent or control disease. Continue reading