Judge B. Lynn Winmill’s ruled Idaho’s law banning surreptitious filming in agricultural facilities is unconstitutional, and reactions from key players are rolling in.
Bob Naerebout of the Idaho Dairymen’s Association said the organization is still reviewing the ruling and has no comment at this time.
Sen. Jim Patrick, R-Filer and sponsor of the original bill, said Monday afternoon he was a little surprised. “It’s disappointing to me because I felt like we were on good grounds,” Patrick told Idaho Reports, adding an appeal is still an option. “I feel strongly, and all of us feel strongly, that it’s wrong not to report animal abuse when you watch it or see it.”
Richard Eppink, Legal Director of ACLU Idaho, cheered the ruling. “It’s good to see that the federal court has recognized the serious First Amendment and equal protection problems that Idaho had with that law,” Eppink told Idaho Reports, added that ACLU is prepared to fight an appeal should one be filed. “If that’s what’s necessary, then obviously we’ll continue to challenge the statute at the appeals court and defend Judge Winmill’s ruling… It’s unfortunately not a surprise that the Attorney General’s office here in Idaho continues to fight losing battles rather than defending the constitution.”
The Animal Legal Defense Fund, the lead plaintiff in the case, issued a press release. “Undercover video and photography has exposed numerous shocking practices that are “industry standards.” These pervasive, systematic procedures include routine mutilation, including debeaking birds with electrically heated blades and castrating male animals by slicing open their scrotum and ripping their testicles out without pain relief or anesthesia and intensive confinement—where animals are literally unable to turn around for months on end. Exposes have also detailed the sickening farming conditions resulting in contaminated meat products—posing serious health risks to the public—and life threatening conditions for farm workers.”
Read Winmill’s ruling here: ALDF Memo Decision (2)