By: Date: 01/28/1998
Dear Animal Owner, Professional and Advocate:
Animal rights and radical environmental groups have escalated their attacks against biomedical researchers, furriers, hunters, trappers, dog and cat breeders, livestock farmers, zoos, circuses, rodeos, exotic animal breeders, and related enterprises in attempts to achieve their political goals through intimidation, harassment, vandalism, arson, bombings, and other crimes.
To bring national attention to the increasing use of these tactics, NAIA initiated a Request for Action to urge the US Congress to investigate animal rights and environmentalist groups that use terrorist tactics against animal interests and resource providers. The NAIA document asks for
- Congressional hearings into terrorist tactics and their impact on animal interests;
- Creation of a joint government task force to investigate the use of terrorism by animal rights radicals and environmental extremists;
- Senate review of the Animal Enterprises Protection Act to increase its effectiveness; and
- IRS review of the tax-exempt status of animal rights groups that advocate, fund, or engage in criminal activities to further their political goals.
- In 1999, Senators Orrin Hatch of Utah and Diane Feinstein of California included some components of the Request for Action in their comprehensive juvenile justice bill, but many of the provisions did not make it into the final version of the bill.
In early October, 2000, California Representative Randy 'Duke' Cunningham picked up the ball and introduced HR 5429, the Researchers and Farmers Freedom From Terrorism Act of 2000. HR 5429 includes many of the provisions in NAIA's Request for Action and would put the federal stamp on efforts to oppose the offensive and intolerable assaults of animal and environmental terrorist groups. The bill was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary but saw no action before the end of the session.
HR 5429 is an amendment to the Animal Enterprise Protection Act passed by Congress in 1992. It:
- Increases penalties for terrorist activities committed against animal enterprises by increasing the minimum sentence to five years and specifies sentences of five-to-20 years for damage or attempts to damage by arson or bombs;
- Allows prosecution of terrorist crimes under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization law;
- Removes the requirement that prosecutors prove the intent of the criminal in committing the terrorist act;
- Holds groups responsible for crimes committed in their names; and
- Establishes a national clearinghouse for information on animal enterprise terrorism.
NAIA applauds Senators Hatch and Feinstein for their understanding of and attention to the seriousness of domestic terrorism committed to achieve political goals against animal enterprises. We further cheer Representative Cunningham's for introducing HR 5429 and encourage individuals and organizations to add their voices by signing the Request for Action and writing letters of support that NAIA can forward to lawmakers for consideration in the upcoming session of Congress.
HR5429: visit the Thomas website and enter the bill number on the search page for the 106th Congress.