Idaho Seeks to Keep the Gag On

Illustration by Tim O’Brien
Originally appeared in July/August 2013 issue of Mother Jones magazine; used without permission

Having been told by U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill in his order in Animal Legal Defense Fund, et al. v. C.L. Butch Otter, et al. that its so-called “ag-gag” law is unconstitutional, the state of Idaho recently filed an appeal to the Ninth Circuit, hoping to overturn Judge Winmill’s decision. Generally, ag-gag laws seek to prevent disclosure of farming/ranching operations to the public by restricting the ability of outside groups to film, record, or otherwise document those operations. They also seek to prevent the publication of any information gained. Idaho’s ag-gag law was not the first to be passed,* but it is the first to be struck down in court. It is also widely considered the prototype for many of the others which have passed (or are pending before) other state legislatures.

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