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Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act

 

Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act

The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA) is a United States federal law (Pub.L. 109–374; 18 U.S.C. § 43) that prohibits any person from engaging in certain conduct "for the purpose of damaging or interfering with the operations of an animal enterprise."[1] The statute covers any act that either "damages or causes the loss of any real or personal property" or "places a person in reasonable fear" of injury.

Contents

  • Background 1
  • Savings clause 2
  • Reaction 3
  • Criminal prosecutions 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Background

The law amends the Animal Enterprise Protection Act of 1992 (Pub.L. 102–346) and gives the U.S. Department of Justice greater authority to target animal rights activists. The AETA does so by broadening the definition of "animal enterprise" to include academic and commercial enterprises that use or sell animals or animal products. It also increases the existing penalties, includes penalties based on the amount of economic damage caused, and allows animal enterprises to seek restitution.

The law was originally introduced in the

  • Text of the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act
  • Earlier House version of the bill (H.R. 4239)
  • Transcript of the House Judiciary Committee hearing on the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act
  • ACLU Letter to Congress Opposing the AETA
  • ACLU Letter to James Sensenbrenner Supporting an Amended AETA
  • Coalition to Abolish the AETA
  • U.S. terror hunt targets animal activists (Toronto Star)
  • People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals Action Alert Regarding the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act
  • American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Action Alert Regarding the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act
  • The Casualties of Green Scare (CounterPunch)
  • House Passes Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act With Little Discussion or Dissent

External links

  1. ^ a b "United States Code: Title 18,43. Force, violence, and threats involving animal enterprises". Legal Information Institute. Cornell University Law School. Retrieved December 25, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "Text of S. 3880 [109th]: Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act". GovTrack. Retrieved December 25, 2011. 
  3. ^ [4]
  4. ^ "Text of H.R. 4239 [109th]: Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act". GovTrack. November 4, 2005. Retrieved December 25, 2011. 
  5. ^ "Re: The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, 18 U.S.C. § 43" (PDF). New York City Bar. July 22, 2009. 
  6. ^ [5]
  7. ^ Mitchell, Steve (November 14, 2006). "Analysis: Bill targets animal activists". UPI. Retrieved December 25, 2011. 
  8. ^ "The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act Passes the House of Representatives". American Kennel Club. November 13, 2006. Retrieved December 25, 2011. 
  9. ^ American Civil Liberties Union : ACLU Letter to the House of Representatives Regarding the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act
  10. ^ Tim Phillips, "Federal Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Challenging the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act", Activist Defense, March 19, 2013.
  11. ^ Center for Constitutional Rights, "Rights Group Appeals Dismissal of Federal Animal Rights 'Terrorism' Challenge", April 17, 2013.
  12. ^ http://www.ca3.uscourts.gov/opinarch/064211p.pdf
  13. ^ Stewart, Christopher S. (July 15, 2011). "The Balancer: Animal-Rights Activist Andrew Stepanian Talks About His Time Inside ‘Little Gitmo’". Daily Intel. New York Magazine. Retrieved December 25, 2011. 
  14. ^ Order Dismissing Indictment Without Prejudice and Denying as Moot Other Pending Motions.
  15. ^ https://www.fbi.gov/sanfrancisco/press-releases/2009/sf022009.htm/
  16. ^ [6]

References

See also

In July 2014, two men were indicted for "animal enterprise terrorism" after releasing 2,000 foxes and mink from fur farms. Their lawyer announced plans to challenge the constitutionality of the law.[16]

In 2009, four individuals were indicted under the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act for alleged harassment, intimidation, and violent acts at the homes of professors conducting research involving animal testing. While the charges were eventually dismissed, the defendants were placed under house arrest for almost a year.[14] The FBI alleges that these individuals were part of groups engaged in trespassing, attempted forcible entry of a private residence, and distribution of leaflets that resulted in the firebombing of two residences. [15]

The bill was passed in response to the then-ongoing prosecution of members of Communication Management Unit, reserved for inmates the government considers terrorist threats.[13]

Criminal prosecutions

On March 18, 2013, U.S. District Judge Joseph Tauro dismissed the lawsuit five animal rights activists filed to challenge the AETA for criminalizing what they called protected First Amendment speech. Judge Tauro decided that the activists did not have standing to challenge the constitutionality of the AETA.[10] On April 17, 2013, the activists’ attorneys at the Center for Constitutional Rights appealed.[11]

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) did not oppose the bill, but expressed concerns that "minor changes [were] necessary to make the bill less likely to chill or threaten freedom of speech."[9] The ACLU requested that the bill be amended to define what was meant by "real or personal property," to narrow the definition of "animal enterprise," and to substantially reduce penalties for conspiracy convictions under the statute. The particular changes proposed by the ACLU are not present in the final version of the AETA.

Animal welfare and civil liberties groups, however, largely opposed the passage of the legislation. Camille Hankins, a representative of Win Animal Rights, asserted that the legislation infringed upon the picketing or other peaceful demonstration."[8]

The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act was overwhelmingly embraced by the pharmaceutical industry. The National Association for Biomedical Research (NABR) lauded the passage of the bill stating, "Today, the AETA provides greater protection for the biomedical research community and their families against intimidation and harassment, and addresses for the first time in federal law, campaigns of secondary and tertiary targeting that cause economic damage to research enterprises."[6]

Reaction

The law contains a savings clause that indicates it should not be construed to "prohibit any expressive conduct (including peaceful picketing or other peaceful demonstration) protected from legal prohibition by the First Amendment to the Constitution." [1] However, by its own terms, the statute criminalizes acts such as "intimidation." And prosecutions under AETA require using evidence of otherwise lawful free speech in order to demonstrate a "course of conduct" as proof of purpose or possible conspiracy.[5]

Savings clause

[2] The bill is described by the author as being intended to "provide the Department of Justice the necessary authority to apprehend, prosecute, and convict individuals committing animal enterprise terror."[4]

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