As long as a USDA-licensed animal exhibitor fills out the correct paperwork on time, he or she can continue to exhibit exotic animals, despite recorded violations of the Animal Welfare Act. Unless an exhibitor is convicted of a violation, the USDA cannot revoke his or her license. The USDA took notice and comment on changing this regulation to make it more difficult to keep a license if an exhibitor is found violating animal welfare laws.
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.