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Sun Nov 12 2006 (Updated 01/01/07) AETA Criminalizes and Stiffens Penalties for Animal-Related Activism
Update 11/13: In a late night move on Friday, AETA was added to the House Suspension Calendar for Monday, November 13th. This fast-track maneuver, like the one in the Senate, allowed the House to pass the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act with little discussion or dissent on a voice vote only. Read More

11/12: The House of Representatives is set to vote on a bill known as the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (H.R. 4239) that could stop people from protesting or speaking out about cruelty to animals. While the bill purports to take aim against violent protests, it could also be interpreted to ban even peaceful protests, letter-writing, or leafleting that make those who profit from the use of animals feel “intimidated” or “harassed.” The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA) also threatens to eliminate of the kinds of undercover investigations that have revealed attrocious conditions in laboratories and farms (such as the eye-opening exposés produced by Compassionate Consumers and East Bay Animal Advocates). This law's predecessor, the Animal Enterprise Protection Act of 1992, has already been used to convict the SHAC 7 for maintaining a website that supported campaigns against Huntingdon Life Sciences, a major commerical vivisector. This new law goes even further, providing for legal prosecutions against anyone participating in any non-violent actions that result in "loss of profits" for virtually all "animal enterprises."

The AETA was pushed by those who run farms, circuses, rodeos, and testing labs in order to carve out new legal protections for themselves with new definitions of what can be prosecuted as "terrorism" in America. It already sailed through the Senate (as S3880, co-sponsored by Senators Inhofe and Feinstein), so this is the last chance for those who wish to stop this bill to take action to prevent it from becoming law. The House of Representatives has the bill on their “suspension calendar” as if there is no opposition to it. The vote could take place as early as Monday. The Equal Justice Alliance, a coalition of over 150 animal rights, environmental and legal groups, urges activists of all stripes to stand up for freedom of speech and stop this bill by simply making a phone call to your Representative Monday morning. They say all you have to do is to say this bill goes way too far, and that it needs to be pulled off the suspension calendar.

Read More: 1 | 2 | 3

Analysis of Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act | No AETA - Equal Justice Alliance | Contact Info for Your Congressperson | Congressman Kucinich's statement on the AETA | Congressman McGovern Agrees to Dialogue with Activists

Related Indybay Features and Other Coverage:
New ‘Terrorism’ Laws to Protect Animal Abusers’ Profits | First Member of SHAC 7 Begins Jail Sentence | Are you now or were you ever an enviromentalist? | Lessons from COINTELPRO | War Against Terror, Animal Enterprise Protection Act, and SHAC Convictions | INHOFE INTRODUCES ANIMAL ENTERPRISE TERRORISM ACT | One Struggle, One Fight: SHAC 7 and the Future of Dissent | trial by ordeal:The Modern-Day Witch Hunt | Disposable Lives: How Animal Liberation Can Affect Us All

also: Three cheers for the loss of Senate chairmanship for extreme anti-environmentalist Inhofe | GOP Launches Vicious Attack on Endangered Species | FBI says animal and eco-extremists are now top domestic terror threat | Inhofe labels Iraq prisoners as terrorists, denounces Red Cross

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