Activists target Utah's 'agricultural-gag' law

7/22/2013 10:00 AM
By Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Animal-welfare activists are trying to overturn a Utah law that prohibits undercover filming at farm operations.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals filed a lawsuit Monday in federal court in Salt Lake City.

The groups have the backing of attorneys at the University of Denver's Sturm College of Law and the Utah Legal Clinic.

A leading constitutional scholar, Erwin Chemerinksy, says the law restricts free speech and singles out animal advocates for punishment.

Activists say filming livestock operations continues a tradition of journalistic muckraking that has led to landmark food safety laws.

The Utah law makes it a misdemeanor to trespass on private property to record images or sounds of a livestock operation. A sponsor says it protects private property rights.

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