Idaho to pay $250,000 in "ag-gag" fallout

Posted at 1:16 PM, May 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-20 18:07:40-04

A judge has ordered Idaho to pay nearly $250,000 in legal fees following a lawsuit and ultimate repeal against Idaho’s “ag-gag’ law.

The law that outlawed undercover investigations of operations at farms was found to have violated the First and 14th amendments of the U.S. Constitution.

The motion filed by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) and a coalition of national nonprofits was approved by District Court Judge B. Lynn Winmill.

"The American public has a right to know when the meat industry is breaking the law, and Idaho's 'ag-gag' law was a blatant violation of free speech," general counsel to PETA Jeffrey Kerr wrote in a press release. "This ruling is a warning to other states that PETA will challenge 'ag-gag' laws, we will win, and it will be costly for the state."

In February 2014, Governor “Butch” Otter signed the “ag-gag” bill into law after video in 2012 surfaced showing workers abusing dairy cows at Bettencourt Dairies.  The bill allowed for anyone filming undercover at Idaho farms to face jail time if caught.  The law was struck down on August 3rd, 2015.