Ag-Gag Laws, Animal Rights Activism, and the Constitution: What is Protected Speech?
This article examines the constitutionality of ag-gag legislation that has recently been adopted by two Canadian provinces and is on the horizon in others. Ag-gag legislation prohibits activities such as trespass onto agricultural animal operations, gaining entry onto agriculture operations using false pretences, and interfering with the transport of farmed animals to slaughter. The analysis draws on case law and literature interpreting section 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and engages with scholarship related to animal rights activism, American ag-gag legislation, and feminist animal studies to argue that ag-gag laws violate the fundamental freedoms protected by the Charter. The article contends that Canadian ag-gag legislation prevents the communication of messages related to seeking truth, participation in the political system, and individual human flourishing, which limits freedom of expression.
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