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30-year-old Kansas ag-gag law struck down

VICTORY FOR ANIMALS AND CONSUMERS: Kansas' anti-whistleblower law was just deemed unconstitutional!
January 23, 2020 Updated: June 18, 2024
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In a victory for animals, an unconstitutional Kansas state law which banned filming inside factory farms and slaughterhouses was struck down yesterday.

Since 1990, a state law in Kansas made it illegal to film or photograph inside factory farms and slaughterhouses “with the intent to damage an enterprise conducted at the animal facility.” The law, which is known as an “ag-gag” statute, was deemed unconstitutional for violating the First Amendment, and the state has been barred from enforcing it against undercover investigators. The Kansas ag-gag law was the oldest of its kind in the U.S. and prevented whistleblowers from exposing the truth about what happens to animals raised for food for the past 30 years. 

Hens inside a cage in a factory farm

“Kansas has violated the rights of whistleblowers and animal cruelty investigators for thirty years, stifling our ability to document acts of abuse or neglect that might occur on factory farms throughout the state,” says Sean Thomas, International Director of Investigations.

“Criminalizing the recording of valuable evidence that has led to felony animal cruelty charges in other states was designed to keep the public unaware of the suffering that animals on factory farms in Kansas endure. Investigations on factory farms and in slaughterhouses are the primary tool that Animal Equality uses to educate the public, expose violations of law, and strengthen legislation to protect animals used for food.”

Pigs in a factory farm

This is a huge victory for both animals and consumers everywhere, but there’s still more work to be done. While similar laws have been struck down by federal courts in several states, ag-gag laws are still on the books in North Dakota, Montana, Arkansas, North Carolina, and Missouri. Currently Animal Equality, along with three public interest groups, is working to strike down the Arkansas law, and a lawsuit is ongoing in North Carolina to bar enforcement of that ag-gag statute also.

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