Posts tagged: dairy
Here’s a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A federal judge has denied Idaho's request to dismiss a lawsuit arguing that the recently passed law criminalizing surreptitious recording at agriculture facilities is unconstitutional. U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill says in a ruling issued Thursday that the case raises First Amendment concerns because it restricts protected speech. However, Winmill added that he is dismissing Gov. C. L. “Butch” Otter as a defendant from the case because Otter does not directly oversee enforcing the law. Animal rights, civil liberties and environmental groups are suing the state to overturn the so-called “ag-gag” law. The law, which lawmakers passed in February, was backed by Idaho's $2.5 billion annual dairy industry.
Winmill, in his 33-page ruling, rejected the state's argument that Idaho's law doesn't implicate constitutional concerns under the 1st or 14th Amendments. Instead, he found that the claims directly implicate free speech, equal-protection and whistleblower concerns under the 1st and 14th Amendments and under federal law, and that the case should proceed to examine those claims. “The ultimate question of whether (the new law) … is unconstitutional remains for another day,” the judge wrote.
The ruling notes that even false speech - like misrepresenting oneself on an employment application to gain access to a dairy, which the new law makes a crime - can be protected free speech. “False statements that do not constitute defamation, fraud or perjury are fully protected speech,” Winmill wrote, citing a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court case. He also noted that making videotaping a crime can be a restriction on free speech - because only those who publish the resulting videos likely would be punished. Indirectly, that makes the restriction on videotaping a restriction on publishing the resulting videos. Click below for a full report from AP reporter Kimberlee Kruesi.
Here’s a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — An Idaho dairy industry group has sent a letter to all its members urging them to deny media requests for tours and on-farm interviews. The letter from the United Dairymen of Idaho was sent anonymously to the Associated Press late last week. In it, co-chairs Tom Dorsey and Tony Vanderhulst advise dairy producers that there's been an increase in requests from media groups seeking to film on-farm footage in the wake of an Idaho law that makes it illegal to secretly film animal abuse at agricultural facilities. The letter says that for the protection of the Idaho dairy industry, people seeking tours or interviews should be turned down or referred to United Dairymen officials or another industry group. Spokeswoman Cindy Miller confirmed the letter was sent to about 500 dairies.
Click below for a full report from AP reporter Rebecca Boone, and a statement from the dairy group.
Here’s a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A federal judge has denied a request by the Idaho Dairymen's Association to join Idaho in defending the recently passed law criminalizing surreptitious recording at agriculture facilities. The Times-News reports (http://bit.ly/1lDTAxw) that U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill shot down the request Monday. Winmill said in his ruling that the state can represent the dairymen's interests without the group getting involved. Animal rights, civil liberties and environmental groups are suing the state to overturn the so-called “ag-gag” law. The law, which lawmakers passed in February, was backed by Idaho's $2.5 billion annual dairy industry. Winmill allowed the dairymen's group to file a brief supporting the state. Those is in favor of the law argue that it protects private property rights. Opponents counter the law infringes on free speech rights.
Three former workers with Idaho's largest dairy operation have been charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty, the AP reports, after undercover video shot by an animal rights group showed workers stomping, dragging and beating cows inside a milking barn. The video was shot using a hidden camera by a member of Mercy for Animals who got a job at Bettencourt Dairies' Dry Creek Dairy in Hansen for a few weeks this summer. Click below for a full report from AP reporter Rebecca Boone.
Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) ― Idaho's $2 billion milk industry failed to get Congress to pass a farm bill this month with provisions to help dairies mitigate rising costs and volatile markets that have spurred three quarters of losses. Though a farm bill cleared the Senate, it's languished in the House. House GOP leaders in Washington, D.C., say they didn't have the necessary votes, with conservatives demanding deeper food stamp cuts and Democrats opposing such austerity. After Congress quit Saturday, a bill likely won't be voted on until after Election Day. That means the current farm bill will expire first. U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson, who represents Idaho's dairy country, pushed for a vote this month. Rep. Raul Labrador declined to publicly back a September vote, however, saying he wants more-robust spending reductions in the bill. Click below for a full report from AP reporter John Miller.