Dairy Farm

Dairy cows breath heavily during a humid and foggy morning at SunRidge Dairy in Nampa.

BOISE (AP) — A coalition of animal activists, civil rights groups and media organizations is suing Idaho in federal court over a new law that makes it illegal to secretly film animal abuse at agricultural facilities.

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter signed the new law last month, after Idaho's $2.5 billion dairy industry complained that videos showing cows being abused at a southern Idaho dairy unfairly hurt business.

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The Los Angeles-based animal rights group Mercy for Animals released the videos, which showed workers at Bettencourt Dairy beating, stomping and otherwise abusing cows in 2012.

The lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union, Animal Legal Defense Fund, CounterPunch and others asks a judge to strike down the so-called "ag gag" law. A similar lawsuit is underway in Utah over Utah's version of the law.

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