US House of Representatives Passes AETA -- Start the Bail Fundraisers Now!

 |  Nov 14th 2006  |   5 Contributions


It looks like the lame duck Congress just had to get in a few last licks at free speech and the fight for animal welfare!

With apologies to Jeff Foxworthy but once this bill is completely approved by both the Senate and the House "You May be an Animal Terrorist If..."

    You call for a boycott of stores that sell puppy mill pets!
    You call for a boycott of groups supporting puppy mills (like the Amish)!
    You peacefully protest outside of puppy mills, puppy mill auctions or stores that sell dogs and cats!
    You write a letter or blog entry that encourages legislation stopping puppy mills!
    You encourage a boycott of companies that use animals for testing or research!

I could go on but by now you should have the picture! AETA is an attempt to stop those of us fighting for the rights of animals!

So as I said in the title -- start fundraising for the bail bonds now! I think Tammy Grimes may be getting a LOT of company in the courtroom!

We MUST encourage the incoming Senate and House members to IMMEDIATELY REVIEW AETA and STRIKE IT DOWN!

Thanks to the Animal Protection Institute for this update!

UPDATE Congress Passes HR 4239, the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act

As anticipated, H.R. 4239, the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA), was brought to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives in a fast-track maneuver late yesterday, on the Representatives first day back after the month-long break.


The House passed AETA by a voice vote under suspension of the rules, a procedure usually reserved for non-controversial legislation. When the bill came up for consideration, only a handful of House members were even back in town, and very few were on the floor of the House when the brief discussion ensued. This bill was rushed through without a serious look at its flaws, by Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI).

Next Steps

Because the language of AETA passed by the House varies from the language approved by the Senate in the companion bill, S. 3880, a conference committee will reconcile the differences between the bills. Once the differences are resolved and a conference report is generated, both the House and Senate will need to approve the legislation again.

To keep updated on AETA and for more detailed information, visit www.stopaeta.org and www.noaeta.org.

Background

AETA seeks to clamp down on animal activist activities by using a broad brush to paint activists as terrorists" simply because they oppose institutionalized animal cruelty. Sponsored by Representative Thomas Petri (R-WI), HR 4239 would make it a crime punishable by imprisonment to cause any business classified as an animal enterprise" to suffer a loss of profit even if the companys financial decline is the result of legal activities, such as peaceful protests, consumer boycotts, or media campaigns. The term animal enterprise;" includes manufacturers, distributors, and sellers of animals or animal products including research facilities, pet stores, breeders, zoos, rodeos, circuses, furriers, animal shelters, and the like.

API strongly opposes acts of violence, including vandalism and property damage. However, this bill threatens to criminalize as terrorism" otherwise lawful, constitutionally protected and valuable acts often utilized by citizens and organizations seeking change. For example, lawful and peaceful protests against the circus or companies that test on animals could be considered a violation of this act if the activity resulted in economic damage to the company.

To find out how your U.S. Representative voted on AETA, please contact his/her office. If your Representative voted against AETA, please thank him or her. On the other hand, if your Representative voted for AETA, politely express your concerns (see talking points below). You can reach your Representative through U.S. Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121. To identify your Congressperson, go to www.house.gov or www.senate.gov, or simply enter your zip code at www.vote-smart.org.

Talking Points

AETA does not genuinely fight terrorism. AETA may divert valuable taxpayer money and resources away from real terrorism.

AETA is vague and overly broad. AETA isnt just about illegal actions like breaking windows or rescuing animals from fur farms. It includes penalties for non-violent physical obstruction" and actions that do not harm people or property. It could label civil disobedience, whistle-blowing, undercover investigations, and aggressive yet nonviolent campaigns as terrorism" if they hurt corporate profits.

AETA limits free speech. Labeling nonviolent actions as terrorism" and prosecuting them as federal crimes will have a chilling effect on free speech. You shouldnt have to be afraid of being labeled a terrorist" for speaking up for animals.

Corporate profits arent a national security priority. There are better ways to spend scarce anti-terrorism resources than protecting corporate interests and targeting animal activists as terrorists."

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