Farm Talk

September 11, 2012

Kan. State Fair wins lawsuit against PETA


Parsons, Kansas — WICHITA, KAN. (AP) - A federal judge has sided with the Kansas State Fair in a free speech challenge filed by an animal-rights group.

U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten recently ruled the fair is a so-called "limited public forum." He said fair officials acted reasonably in requiring People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals to shield people walking by its booth from easily seeing images depicting animal slaughter.

PETA sued the state, the Kansas Fair Board and the fair's general manager, arguing the restrictions violate its free speech rights.

But the judge also denied a motion by the state to dismiss PETA's lawsuit.

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt released the following statement following the ruling:

"We are encouraged by the decision of the court.  This ruling preserves the family friendly, pro-agriculture mission of the state fair and is consistent with the First Amendment."£