By Associated Press - Tuesday, June 5, 2018

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - A federal appeals court is resurrecting a lawsuit by animal-rights groups against a North Carolina law that discourages undercover investigations into conditions at farms and other workplaces.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday reversed a North Carolina federal judge’s decision dismissing the lawsuit.

A three-judge appeals panel said People For The Ethical Treatment Of Animals and other groups have alleged a reasonable fear that the law sought to punish undercover exposes uncovering illegal and unethical conduct.

North Carolina was among about a half-dozen states passing laws targeting surreptitious recordings in agricultural settings. North Carolina’s law extends to other types of businesses.

Federal courts have struck down so-called “ag-gag” laws in Utah and Idaho in the past year as violations of the U.S. Constitution’s free speech guarantee.

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