Animal activists from Los Angles-based Mercy for Animals are taking credit this week for the conviction of Danny Miranda on three counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty, but it might be awhile before they or others return to North Carolina to mount another undercover investigation. Deese_406x250That’s because on Jan. 1, a new North Carolina law went into effect with penalties up to $5,000 a day for anyone who gets too nosy about animal agriculture. The law, adopted by the North Carolina General Assembly over the veto of Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, contains civil penalties for workers who produce videos or audio recordings or remove records, data or documents from “the nonpublic areas of an employer’s premises.” Those provisions differ somewhat from so-called ag-gag laws adopted in a half dozen states to crack down on undercover investigations by animal activists, but are likely to have the same effect. Idaho’s ag-gag law was struck down on constitutional grounds by a federal district court judge. The state has gone to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco, seeking to have the district court decision reversed. Miranda was sentenced to 45 days in the country jail and will remain on probation for one year. He was also ordered not to work with animals. Mercy for Animals undercover video showed Deese Farms and Hideaway Farms workers kicking and stomping on chickens that were being raised for Perdue Farms. Perdue has ceased contracting with the two farms where the cruelty was documented. Tom Deese, owner of the two farms, has declined the opportunity to comment to local media since the worker was sentenced. Perdue says it has stepped up training for crews that catch chickens. The $5,000 penalty in the new law “for each day or portion thereof, that a defendant has action in violation” is seen as alternative approach to making the activity a criminal misdemeanor,