The law, signed by then Governor Terry Branstad, made it illegal for anyone to go undercover as a worker at an agriculture production facility for the purposes of recording the treatment of animals. Activists decried the law, saying it kept them from informing the public about potential inhumane or illegal activities.
A collection of animal activist groups including the ACLU, Animal Legal Defense Fund, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Center for Food Safety, Public Justice and Bailing Out Benji joined together to challenge the law in court.
On Wednesday a federal judge in Des Moines sided with the plaintiffs in the case and ruled the law unconstitutional. The ruling was made by Judge James Gritzner who was appointed to the bench by President George W. Bush.
The Animal Legal Defense fund issued this statement after today’s hearing:
“Ag-Gag laws are a pernicious attempt by animal exploitation industries to hide some of the worst forms of animal abuse in the United States. Today’s victory makes it clear that the government cannot protect these industries at the expense of our constitutional rights.”
-Animal Legal Defense Fund Executive Director Stephen Wells.