Ag Gag Laws Sputtering

So-called "ag gag" laws unconstitutionally target farm whistleblowers. Two recent decisions have dealt a serious blow to these laws.

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I strongly support the right of farmers everywhere to raise livestock for food. I also believe that the overwhelming majority of food producers in this country take proper care of the animals they raise for food.

But, as I wrote back in September, those who argue that farm photography and filming shouldn’t be protected under the Constitution because it’s a “politically motivated” means of popularizing an “anti-meat agenda” appear to be unfamiliar with the Constitution.

To reiterate, a person needn’t share one shred of support for an anti-meat agenda to wonder if “politically motivated” speech is not to be protected under the First Amendment, then what speech is protected?

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  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I suppose I might support some flavor of a law like that which was targeted solely at the trespassing element of capturing video or photographic evidence.

    The consequence of my law? Increased surveillance drone sales. Everybody wins. Farmers keep hippies off their property, farm animals don't get abused (whatever that means), unmanned aircraft manufactures make a buck, and we get to debate whether airspace is private property.

  • JackO||

    I hope you support hate crime laws too, and any other law that protects a certain class from something that's already a crime no matter who the victim...

    Trespass is trespass. Why do Ag interests need to be specially protected?

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    Because for some reason be bopping onto someone's property with a hidden camera is not considered a trespass everywhere.

  • JackO||

    Might I ask where the act of unauthorized presence on someone's property is not considered trespass?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Agriculture definitely doesn't deserve special protection. I'm talking about the difference between trespass and trespass to record. The latter, the intruder is coming away with something, just like when a burglary is more than just trespass.

  • JackO||

    Why should it be any more of a crime? It's not like the recorder is depriving the land owner of any of his property. If anything, state invasion of privacy laws can take care of it in civil court.

    Trespass suffices on the criminal side, IMO.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    farm animals don't get abused (whatever that means),

    It means not fucking them.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Wait, that translates to abuse or not abuse? Is "withholding" the abuse you're talking about? YOU'RE SCARING ME.

  • Fluffy||

    As usual, legislatures end up writing bad and unconstitutional law because they're too dumb to parse out the facet of the behavior they possess a legitimate power to punish.

    Leave the camera part alone. Just modify the fraud law to prohibit accepting paid employment with the intent of surreptitiously taping events on private property. "Intent" to be prima facie established by showing up for a shift with a hidden camera.

  • Silly ol' Bear||

    It is up to the animal's owner unless, of course, he is the abuser. "...the law is an ass," as always.

  • WomSom||

    OK wow, so who comes up with all that crazy smack I wonder?

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Well, pedobot, according to the UN Office of Drugs and Crime, the majority of the smack on the market comes from Afghanistan. Afghanistan produced about 66% of world opium supply in 2009. Here is an article in the Daily Mail from 2012, indicating that production of opium increased dramatically in the years since 2009.

    Someday, pedobot, we will look back on this dark age of prohibition and shake our heads.

  • ||

    Unpossible. Our troops "control" Afghanistan.

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    Maybe it means Obama is not as anti-drug as we thought.

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    What is interesting in the debate here in Tennessee, the folk who generally roll statist were against this law because they viewed reporters as better at investigating than detectives. Free Speech was rarely brought up. It was all about making sure the "investigative reporter" was not impeded. Neither was brought up the aspect that what they were also advocating is making sure their favorite news outlets made a buck before the government could spend a buck prosecuting anybody.

    I was against it on the basis that nobody should be forced to testify against another.

  • ||

    When animals acquire rights...

  • ZackTheHypochondriac||

    When slaves acquire rights...

    When women acquire rights...

    When children acquire rights...

    nah maybe you're right, making others endure hardship for our gain is a pretty sweet deal.

  • cjb||

    I welcome free speech - especially when that free speech serves to protect us and the animals in our care.

  • ZackTheHypochondriac||

    " I also believe that the overwhelming majority of food producers in this country take proper care of the animals they raise for food." BL

    Why do they go to such great lengths to keep everything out of sight? They don't push these bills because all the animals are wearing silk robes and getting manicured.

    I grew up on a fish farm and near several dairy farms, I know that life for these animals is not a constant hell like some of the more radical animal rights people say(at least for those two types), but there is certainly some disturbing aspects to it and that is just production, I'm sure the slaughter is far from ideal as well.

    "Just modify the fraud law to prohibit accepting paid employment with the intent of surreptitiously taping events on private property."-fluff

    I wouldn't even support that, if your industry is only viable by misleading, distorting, and outright lying to your customers then you should probably just go stand in front of the bolt gun and hope it works the first time.

  • jhoughton1||

    Well-written, well-argued. Bravo.


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