ANIMAL ENTERPRISE AND TERRORISM ACT
Do you know who the FBI considers to be a top domestic terrorism threat?
Animal rights and ecological extremists who resort to violent methods like firebombing, death threats, vandalism, and harassment to voice their displeasure with food producers and modern agriculture. In the past, these radical organizations and individuals openly advocated for the use of violence to gain media attention and publicity, without fear of facing the consequences of their actions. That's why in 1992, with the passage of the Animal Enterprise Protection Act (AEPA), federal law enforcement officials were given the authorization requested to charge animal rights activists for their acts of violence.
AEPA went through strict legal review to ensure that the First Amendment right to free speech would not be infringed upon.
According to the National Association of Biomedical Research (NABR), the AEPA went unchanged for nearly a decade until June of 2002, when federal officials called for increased penalties and extended the language to apply to not just property damage, but also economic damage. Then, in 2006, AETA went through another round of changes, strengthening law enforcement authority over activists' campaigns against animal research enterprises. During the 2006 Congressional hearings, Jerry Vlasak, an animal rights activist, testified that "he condones violence and murder as a means to advance the animal rights agenda." This is a perfect example of why we have legal protections for research and agriculture-related businesses. Because activists like Jerry Vlasak openly advocate for extreme acts, including murder, to further their radical agenda.
The 2006 changes to the AEPA also included a new title for the bill, calling it the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA). For the past several years, the AETA has gone uncontested and has been upheld several times in opinions and rulings handed down by federal judges. Now, the AETA is under legal attack by liberal animal rights lawyers within the New York City Bar Association who say that the law violates the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
The AETA made its way through multiple Congressional hearings and court challenges and has always been upheld as constitutional. Not even the ACLU raised any concerns during the 2006 Congressional hearing in regards to a potential violation of the First Amendment. On August 12, the American Bar Association, the nation's largest professional organization of lawyers, will take a vote to decide whether or not to collectively urge Congress to repeal the AETA. The NABR, an organization that "works to protect the ability of biomedical researchers to use animals in ethical and responsible research that will one day benefit the health of people and animals," has been a leading voice in strengthening and advocating for the AETA.
As the New York City Bar works to convince the ABA House of Delegates to oppose the AETA, NABR is strongly urging its supporters to make their voices heard by doing the following:
- Notify your memberships of this threat, as well as your state and regional affiliates
- Inform your association attorneys of this threat and ask them to express their opposition to ABA Resolution 116
- State organizations should immediately notify state bar associations of their opposition to Resolution 116 and ask them in the strongest terms to oppose the resolution during the House of Delegates meeting on August 12
- If you know an attorney who is a member of the ABA House of Delegates, please urge her/him to vote against Resolution 116
- Individual attorney members of ABA must tell the House of Delegates of their individual and collective opposition Animal rights activists know that the AETA limits their ability to employ the use of violence and fear tactics to destroy and physically harm animal business's and American agriculture.
Join us by helping to spread the word to protect our food, our family farmers, and our private property. Together, we can PROTECT THE AETA.