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Congressman Kucinich's statement on the AETA
by Mat Thomas (mat [at]
Sunday Dec 3rd, 2006 4:24 PM
Congressman Kucinich's statement on the AETA
Congressman Dennis Kucinich's Special Assistant sent me his statement regarding the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA) and asked that I post it to my blog ( ). However, I figured it would be more widely read if I posted it elsewhere.

Kucinich has been the only elected official in Congress (out of 100 Senators and 435 Representatives) to speak out and vote against the AETA. To thank the Congressman for standing by those who exercise their first amendment rights to protect animals from abuse, visit his website ( ), where you can also learn about and join his efforts to support humane treatment of farm animals.

Mat Thomas

Statement of Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich (D-OH) on the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act:

I stand with every Member of the House in defense of the rights of individuals to be free of bodily harm or injury under all and any circumstances. But, the fact of the matter is, existing Federal law already includes any place which does Federal research.

So the question is, why create a new and specific classification here?

We, of course, need to protect peoples' right to conduct their work without fear of assault. But, a larger question remains yet unanswered by this Congress: How should animals be treated humanely?

There are some specific principles with respect to humane treatment of animals but, these do not go far enough. My concern about this bill is that it does nothing to address the real issue of animal protection but, instead targets those advocating animal rights. This legislation will have a real and chilling effect on people's Constitutionally protected First Amendment rights.

I am not talking about people who would threaten anyone with death because they don't agree with them, but there are individuals who love animals, who don't want to see animals hurt, who have a point and a right to speak out. I think for that reason, this bill has not yet reached its maturity.

I understand what the sponsors of this bill are trying to do, but I don't think that they will reach the end they are hoping to achieve unless this Congress makes a clear statement about ethical principles with respect to animals and how we treat animals in research and other enterprise.

These are very serious questions that millions of Americans care about. I understand the intent here, but I think that you must be very careful about painting everyone with the broad brush of terrorism who might have a legitimate objection to research with or treatment of animals that is inhumane.

Bringing up a bill like this under procedures that only allow limited debate, and no amendments, no matter how well intentioned, is problematic.

I am not and never have been in favor of anyone using a cloak of free speech to commit violence. The Supreme Court Justice said, your right to swing your fist ends at the tip of my nose. No one has the right to yell "fire'' in a crowded theater. We have heard those kinds of admonitions.

I am not for anyone abusing their rights by damaging another person's property or person, but I am for protecting the First Amendment and not creating a special class of violations for a specific type of protest.

Balancing Constitutional concerns against the protection of people and property is never easy. Unfortunately, the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act goes too far in the wrong direction.

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Neutral Red Bioassay
Wednesday Dec 6th, 2006 12:57 AM

Thank you for contacting me regarding H.R. 4239 the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act. I appreciate learning of your views.

H.R.4239 was introduced by Representative Thomas E. Petri on November 4, 2005 in response to the growing threat of eco-terrorism. This statute is designed to fill gaps in the current Federal Criminal Code that may not cover the interstate nature of the planning and conduct of criminal harassment campaigns. H.R. 4239 would amend the animal enterprise terrorism statute, 18 U.S. Code 43, to prohibit anyone from traveling in, or using the mail or any facility of, interstate or foreign commerce for the purpose of damaging or disrupting an animal enterprise.

It is my belief that Congress should protect commercial resources of national import. In United States v. Lopez, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the power of Congress to regulate the channels, instrumentalities, and of interstate commerce.

H.R. 4239 has been referred to the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security, of which I am a member. If this bill comes to the House floor in the 109th Congress, please be assured that I keep your views in mind.

Again, thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with me.

If you ever need help with a federal agency, please contact my office at (916) 859-9906, or for more information on issues or legislation pending before Congress; please visit our website at My staff and I are always available to address your concerns, answer your questions, and listen to your ideas.


Daniel E. Lungren
Member of Congress

Note: Please do not respond directly to this e-mail. To better serve the constituents of the Third District I have established a Feedback Form on my website. If you wish to contact me with any concerns, I would ask that you please utilize the following link and I will respond shortly (
Tuesday Dec 26th, 2006 5:42 PM