- by cnn
- 29 Sep 2023
Laws criminalising the use of secretly recorded vision of animal cruelty and abuse are posing "too great a burden on speech", animal rights activists have told the high court.
The Farm Transparency Project, an Australian animal advocacy group, launched a case earlier this year arguing New South Wales laws restricting the use of covert footage were an unfair burden on freedom of political communication.
The state's Surveillance Devices Act criminalises the use of footage or audio that was obtained using a listening device or hidden camera, but, unlike other states, gives no public-interest exemption.
The laws have been used to pursue activists on criminal charges and have prevented media outlets from using footage depicting cruelty or abuse in abattoirs and knackeries across the state.
Guardian Australia was recently prevented from showing secretly recorded footage of ex-racehorses being sent for slaughter at NSW pet food factories, a clear breach of industry rules.
In its written submissions to the high court, the Farm Transparency Project said the case was not about how activists were perceived by the general public.
"It is about the law that is challenged," it said.
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