A federal appeals court is resurrecting a lawsuit by animal-rights groups against a North Carolina law that discourages undercover investigations into conditions at farms and other workplaces.
The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on June 5 reversed a North Carolina federal judge’s decision dismissing the lawsuit.
A three-judge appeals panel said People For The Ethical Treatment Of Animals and other groups have alleged a reasonable fear that the law sought to punish undercover exposes uncovering illegal and unethical conduct.
North Carolina was among about a half-dozen states passing laws targeting surreptitious recordings in agricultural settings. North Carolina’s law extends to other types of businesses.
Federal courts have struck down so-called “ag-gag” laws in Utah and Idaho in the past year as violations of the U.S. Constitution’s free speech guarantee.