There has been an increasing number of illegal acts committed against animal production and research facilities involving injury or loss of life to animals or humans, criminal trespass, and damage to property. These actions not only abridge the property rights of the owners, operators, and employees of the facility, they may also damage the public interest by jeopardizing crucial animal production or agricultural, scientific, or biomedical research. These actions may also threaten the public safety by exposing communities to public health concerns and creating traffic hazards. These actions substantially disrupt or damage research and result in the potential loss of physical and intellectual property. While the criminal code, particularly the malicious mischief crimes, adequately covers those who intentionally and without authority damage or destroy farm animals, the code does not adequately cover similar misconduct directed against research and educational facilities. Therefore, it is in the interest of the people of the state of Washington to protect the welfare of humans and animals, as well as the productive use of private or public funds, to promote and protect scientific and medical research, foster education, and preserve and enhance agricultural production.
It is the intent of the legislature that the courts in deciding applications for injunctive relief under RCW 4.24.580
give full consideration to the constitutional rights of persons to speak freely, to picket, and to conduct other lawful activities.