Judge refuses to block Utah ‘ag-gag’ challenge
By LINDSAY WHITEHURST
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Utah judge won’t toss out the country’s first lawsuit challenging an “ag-gag” law that criminalizes undercover investigations of slaughterhouses and factory farms.
U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby ruled Thursday that animal rights activists can continue their legal fight against the misdemeanor statue. The activists say it is designed to silence them and prevent exposure of the “horrors” of factory farming.
The state says the activists are out to destroy the livestock industry and that the measure promotes workplace safety by barring undercover operatives from dangerous workplaces.
Seven states have similar laws. One of the Utah plaintiffs was charged under the law for filming at a slaughterhouse, though the charges were later dismissed.