DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A group of animal rights and public interest groups filed a lawsuit Tuesday to challenge the latest Iowa law designed to criminalize investigations into animal treatment on livestock farms.
The lawsuit, filed in federal court, alleges violations of First Amendment free speech rights and asks the court to declare the law unconstitutional and issue an order preventing officials from enforcing it.
It is the third attempt by Republican lawmakers to outlaw farm investigations. It was signed by Gov. Kim Reynolds in June.
Lawmakers say it’s needed to protect farmers from harassment and deter intrusions that threaten the safety of the state’s multibillion-dollar agriculture industry.
Laws passed in 2012 and 2019 are not enforced by court order after their constitutionality was challenged.