Success: Undercover Videotaping of Animal Abuse Still Legal


Target: Mr. Justin Marceau, University of Denver Law Professor

Goal: Praise the defeat of Idaho’s ban on undercover videotaping of animal abuse on farms.

A controversial set of laws that had the purpose of preventing activists from videotaping animal abuse on farms have just been found unconstitutional. This practice, generally referred to as “ag gag,” has recently become a huge issue as large farms and the food industry push to make their operations more secretive. However, thanks to the hard work of activists, including those on ForceChange who signed a petition on this issue, it won’t be allowed in Idaho any longer and its future in other states is now in question.

Ag-gag laws seek to keep undercover activists with cameras out of farms in a given state. The only possible reason for anyone to be in favor of these laws is that they have money on the line and it is cheaper to flout regulations when inspectors aren’t around. The problem with that is that the regulations they are hoping to get away with violating were created to protect both consumers and animals. Often, footage taken by undercover activists is the only evidence of a farm failing to comply with these rules and to outlaw it could be extremely dangerous.

Furthermore, as the judge ruled in the Idaho case, stopping activists from videotaping the conditions on a farm is an infringement on their constitutional right to free speech. The lawyer in this case, Justin Marceau, a University of Denver law professor, has said that he and his team have achieved total victory in Idaho and that the judge’s finding in this case will call other states’ ag-gag laws into question. This is a wonderful victory for humans and animals everywhere and Professor Marceau deserves praise for making it all possible.


Dear Professor Marceau,

I am writing to express my most sincere admiration for your recent victory over Idaho’s ag-gag laws. As you well know, the only reason to have laws like this is to prevent what really happens on farms from becoming public knowledge. Often, farms will mistreat animals and break safety regulations in the name of saving a few dollars here and there.

Now, watchdogs will once again be able to ensure that the rules are being followed and that all of a given farm’s products are safe and cruelty-free. This is a huge victory for both humans and animals everywhere and I want to extend you a great thank you from the bottom of my heart. The work you have done on this case has not only made Idaho a better place, it has called into question these same laws that are in place in other states. Hopefully you have set a legal precedent that will overturn these laws in short order.

Please continue the good work you do and continue to stand up for the rights of activists in all arenas. If people could be trusted to follow the rules and not chase profits, undercover films wouldn’t even be necessary. Thank you again for the service you have done.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Maqi

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One Comment

  1. thank god for these people.

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