Federal Judge Overturns Iowa Law on Undercover Animal Cruelty Investigations

On Wednesday, U.S. District Court Judge James Gritzner overturned an Iowa law that made it illegal to obtain employment at a livestock farm to investigate animal cruelty through an undercover approach. The federal judge found the law to be a violation of the constitutional right to free speech.

The law was intended to hinder organizations like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals from conducting investigations into animal abuse at farms and puppy mills. Legislators in Iowa approved the 2012 law, for which violators could face up to a year in jail, after several high-profile cases that caught questionable animal treatment on video were then publicized through the media.

The ACLU, along with various animal welfare, food safety, and other advocates filed the lawsuit in 2017 in the U.S. District Court in Des Moines.

Additional Reading:

Animal Legal Defense Fund et al v. Reynolds et al Complaint

Federal Judge Strikes Down Iowa Law on Undercover AG Workers, The Tribune (January 09, 2019)

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com