Judge strikes down Utah law banning undercover farm filming

July 07, 2017 - 10:08 pm

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A federal judge is striking down a Utah law banning secret filming at farm and livestock facilities as an unconstitutional violation of free speech rights.

U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby wrote in the ruling handed down Friday that the law appears tailored toward preventing undercover investigators from exposing abuses at agricultural facilities.

The law was passed amid a wave of similar measures around the country known as 'ag-gag' rules, including one in Idaho that was struck down last year. That ruling is being appealed.

Attorney Matthew Liebman with the Animal Legal Defense Fund applauds the decision and says it makes the laws passed elsewhere vulnerable to legal challenges. A total of nine states have similar laws.

Utah Attorney General's Office spokesman Dan Burton says they're reviewing the ruling.

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