Federal Lawsuit Targets North Carolina Ag-Gag Law

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Farm Forward Alleges That the New Law Violates Constitutional Rights to Free Speech and Equal Protection

Today Farm Forward joined a federal lawsuit to strike down North Carolina’s ag-gag law, which went into effect January 1 despite Governor McCrory’s veto. The group alleges that the law punishes whistleblowers for exposing animal abuse, human rights violations, and anything else that employers wish to hide from the public.

After defeating Idaho's ag-gag law, which a federal court found in violation of both the First Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution, Farm Forward’s General Counsel Michael McFadden says the group is ready to take on another challenge.

Farm Forward has long been a watchdog of the American food system, from its new project BuyingPoultry, which lets consumers find higher-welfare poultry products and plant-based alternatives, to its in-depth assistance on the book and upcoming documentary film Eating Animals, which is being produced by Academy Award Winner Natalie Portman. Farm Forward also hosts a petition at ag-gag.org that has been signed by tens of thousands of people nationwide and remains a cornerstone of the movement to overturn ag-gag laws.

Farm Forward is part of a coalition of plaintiffs in this lawsuit that includes the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Animal Legal Defense Fund, Center for Food Safety, Farm Sanctuary, Food & Water Watch, Government Accountability Project, and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

The full announcement is available here: http://farmforward.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/NC-Ag-gag-Press-Release1.pdf

The full name of the North Carolina law is An Act to Protect Property Owners From Damages Resulting From Individuals Acting in Excess of the Scope of Permissible Access and Conduct Granted to Them. The complaint was filed as case number 16-cv-25 in the United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina Greensboro Division.

The Idaho law was defeated in case number 1:14-cv-00104-BLW in the United States District Court for the District of Idaho.

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Ben Goldsmith
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