In this blog post, 3L Faith Gingrich-Goetz writes about animal cruelty laws in differing jurisdictions, against the backdrop of an incident involving a horse injured in a nightclub in Miami, Florida.
When religion and law are in conflict, what which takes precedent? This question has plagued nations since the dawn of democracy, but not necessarily the dawn of time, as Dan Murphy explained in his recent article on the topic. Murphy noted that unlike ancient monarchies or dictatorships, most modern democracies vow to separate church and state. This separation of religion and democracy has fostered disagreement and tension between people’s beliefs across a wide variety of topicsissues. One such of those topics issue is animal sacrifice.
Utah’s Agricultural Operation Interference statute, or “ag-gag law” as it is often called, is intended to deter animal activists from being able to take videos of animal cruelty and abuse. Recently, a federal district judge in Utah struck down this law, agreeing with activist Plaintiffs that it violated their First Amendment right to free speech. This was the second time that a state’s Ag-Gag law has been held unconstitutional, thus creating a stronger precedent for other states to follow suit.