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SALT LAKE CITY

Judge weighing Utah law banning on undercover farm filming

A federal judge is considering whether a Utah ban on hidden cameras at slaughterhouses that was passed amid a wave of similar measures around the country violates the right to freedom of speech. U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby said he's spent hours considering the issues raised by the case, including the balance between private property rights and the First Amendment.

Animal activists argue the law is an unconstitutional attempt to keep them from exposing inhumane or unsafe practices at factory farms. The state of Utah contends the First Amendment doesn't allow people to enter private property under false pretenses and record however they want.

"I don't think there's a constitutional right to spy," said Kyle Kaiser with the Utah Attorney General's Office. The law makes farm facilities safer by barring unskilled undercover operatives, he said.

The hearing came after a judge in Idaho found a similar law violates the First Amendment — a win for activists that they're aiming to repeat in eight states with similar rules. Idaho is appealing that ruling.

At least five people have been charged under the Utah law since it was passed in 2012, though those cases have since been dropped.

Media groups have also joined the lawsuit, saying the law violates the First Amendment. The Animal Agriculture Alliance, U.S. Poultry and Egg Association and other groups have lined up to support the state.

FORT ATKINSON

Inflammation around calving to be covered in the upcoming Hoard’s Dairyman webinar

Barry Bradford, Kansas State University, will present “Inflammation around calving: What does it mean and how should we approach it?” at 12 p.m. Nov. 14 during the free monthly Hoard’s Dairyman webinar.

Research shows postcalving inflammation is common in dairy cattle, and that cows with more dramatic inflammatory signs have more health issues. Bradford will tackle questions about what drives this response and what, if anything, should be done to minimize it. This webinar is sponsored by Virtus Nutrition.

Hoard's Dairyman launched its free webinar series four years ago in conjunction with the University of Illinois. These educational sessions are held the second Monday of each month and include nationally known and carefully selected presenters who discuss the most timely and relevant challenges faced by today’s dairy producers. Past topics include finance, nutrition, milk quality, herd care, milk marketing, and dairy policy.

There is no cost to register or to view the webinars. To sign up, visit www.hoards.com for details

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