Updated 3/2/13: “Animal Enterprise Terrorism 101″ (an older piece that we missed)
AETA promotes the maximization of profits for all industries that use animals as commodities and inanimate disposables, and the minimization of interference with those enterprises by those concerned with the wretched suffering of animals. How does the Act pursue this end? It simply risks categorizing all animal activists who in any way “interfere” with “animal enterprises,” as terrorists.
Vermont Journal of Environmental Law
Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act language here
Vermont Journal of Environmental Law: “The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act is Invidiously Detrimental to the Animal Rights Movement (and Unconstitutional as Well)” here
Center for Constitutional Rights: The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act
A concise description, here
Center for Constitutional Rights: U.S. v. SHAC 7
Provides background & info on conviction of activists under AETA’s precursor, the Animal Enterprise Protection Act, here
“All six activists were convicted and sentenced to four to six years. No evidence was submitted that the SHAC7 participated in the unlawful protest activity, directed it, or even knew of it in advance – only that they ran the website.”
Center for Constitutional Rights: Blum v. Holder
Challenge to AETA (unconstitutional infringement on free speech) filed 12/15/11, here
“Pushed through Congress by a powerful lobby of pharmaceutical corporations and groups like the Fur Commission USA and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the AETA is an unconstitutional law because it criminalizes a broad swath of protected First Amendment activities and is so unclear as to fail to give people notice of whether or not their conduct is lawful.”
UPDATE to Blum v. Holder: Government moves to dismiss based on plaintiffs’ lack of standing “Because They Have Not Suffered Any Specific Present Objective Harm or Alleged a Threat of Specific Future Harm.” The document, filed 3/9/12, is available here.
Civil Liberties Defense Center
A comprehensive primer: AETA intro; background; language of the law; implications; enforcement; and cases where AETA has been used, here
“Under well-established principles of Constitutional law, the AETA is unconstitutional because the language of the law is both too vague and too broad. The law’s vague language makes it impossible for an individual to know if an act of public protest could potentially land the individual in federal prison convicted as a “terrorist.” “
Jurist: “AETA threatens activism” here
“Regardless of how one feels about animal rights or animal rights activists, the targeting of political activists as “terrorists” because they cause a loss of corporate profits sets a dangerous precedent.”
Equal Justice Alliance here
“AETA is excessively broad and vague by covering nearly all enterprises and by implicating individuals who merely attempt or discuss “interference” with their operation. It imposes excessively harsh penalties when compared with other similar federal offenses. It has a chilling effect on social justice advocacy.”
Subverting Justice: An indictment of the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act here, from 2007, by Kimberly E. McCoy, listed as Executive Director of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. “First they came for the terrorists, and I didn’t speak up, because I wasn’t a terrorist. Or so I thought . . .”
Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) was the lone voice of dissent to speak against AETA before it was signed into law. Read his statement here.
“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.”