NAIA APPLAUDS INHOFE BILL TARGETING ANIMAL RIGHTS TERRORISM
By: Patti Strand Date: 12/24/2003 Category: | Animal Legislation | Animal Rights Extremism |
From our beginning in 1991, the National Animal Interest Alliance has worked for laws to protect animal enterprises from animal rights extremism. To this end, NAIA participated in the campaign that culminated in 1992 passage of the Animal Enterprise Protection Act. In the intervening years, we have endorsed several necessary amendments to strengthen that law.
A major step forward came in 2002 when President Bush signed a bill that increased fines and jail time for violations of the AEPA and established penalties for damages less than $10,000.
But animal rights extremists found a huge loophole in the Act: there was no prohibition of attacks against third parties connected with animal-related businesses, so they escalated the use of threats, vandalism, and other crimes against companies and employees of companies that do business with animal enterprises. These criminals have threatened researchers, shareholders and shelter workers, vandalized country clubs, harassed employee families, intimidated neighbors, and damaged homes in their shameful campaigns to achieve goals ranging from an end to animal-based research to domination of community animal control programs.
On October 26, Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works, convened a hearing on animal rights and environmental terrorism. At that session, Dr. Jerry Vlasak, a physician who often speaks for the Animal Liberation Front, stood behind his 2003 statement that murdering researchers would be an acceptable tactic in the crusade against animal-based research. Other witnesses described how they had been victimized by animal rights extremists, threatened and intimidated by radical activists, and suffered financial losses as a result.
On October 27, Senator Inhofe introduced S. 1926, the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, to strengthen the AEPA and allow a federal response to criminal activity conducted against individuals connected to animal enterprises. S.1926
- Prohibits the intentional damaging of property of a person or entity having a connection to, relationship with, or transactions with an animal enterprise;
- Prohibits veiled threats to individuals and their families because of their relationship with an animal enterprise;
- Increases penalties for intentionally causing economic disruption or damage or physical injury to a person or placing a person in reasonable fear of death or bodily injury;
- Broadens the definition of animal enterprise to include a commercial enterprise that uses or sells animals or animal products for profit or otherwise; including animal shelters, breeders, pet stores, and furriers;
- Allows electronic surveillance;
- Defines “economic disruption,” as losses or increased costs resulting from threats, acts of violence, property damage, trespass, harassment, or intimidation taken against a person or entity on account of their relationship with an animal enterprise.
“The use of these foul tactics by radical activists is obviously increasing, and legitimate businesses and innocent individuals are suffering," said NAIA national director Patti Strand. “We cannot tolerate this anarchist and criminal activity without forfeiting the rule of law that forms the basis of our democratic society. We are grateful to Senator Inhofe for addressing this critically important threat to our country.”
S. 1926 has been referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary. NAIA applauds Senator Inhofe for calling hearings on this critically important matter and for his prompt action in introducing this bill on the heels of the shocking statements made at the committee hearing and urges widespread support for its passage.
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All Authors Of This Article: | Patti Strand |