WASHINGTON, DC – Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Chairman of the Environment & Public Works Committee together with Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Cal.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today introduced bi-partisan legislation that will enhance the effectiveness of the U.S. Department of Justice’s response to recent trends in the animal rights terrorist movement. The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA) was drafted with technical assistance from counter-terror experts at the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Senators Inhofe and Feinstein are committed to passing legislation this year.
Sen. Inhofe Statement:
“Our bi-partisan legislation will provide law enforcement the tools they need to adequately combat radical animal rights extremists’ who commit violent acts against innocent people because they work with animals. This is terrorism and must not be tolerated. As a result of my committee hearings on this topic, I became aware of the need for legislation to combat this growing violent phenomenon. With eco-terrorist attacks in Oklahoma and California, Senator Feinstein and I share a commitment to passing legislation that will help end these terrorist attacks.”
Senator Feinstein Statement:
"The tactics used by animal rights extremists have evolved in the face of our current laws, and consequently, the scope of their terror is widening,” Senator Feinstein said. “We need the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act to fight these tactics, including the latest trend of targeting any business and associate working with animal research facilities.
“Just three months ago, extremist activists acting in the name of animal rights attempted to firebomb the home of a UCLA primate researcher. The home where they placed their bomb actually belonged to a 70-year-old neighbor of the scientist. Thankfully, the device did not ignite. But it did lead another prominent UCLA researcher to quit in fear. We must recognize that scientific research is not only a legitimate career, but also an invaluable facet of medical advancement, conducted by respectable professionals deserving our support. The deplorable actions of these eco-terrorists threaten to impede important medical progress in California and across the country.
“Unfortunately, this type of activity has been going on for awhile. In August 2003, two bombs were placed at the Emeryville offices of Chiron Corporation, a pharmaceutical company in the Bay area that employs 4,400 employees as our nation's 2nd largest manufacturer of flu vaccines."
Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act:
The AETA gives needed protection to scientists, medical researchers, ranchers, farmers, and any other industry involving animals by expanding current law to address violent tactics used by animal rights extremists to frighten law abiding citizens away from their work.
Prohibiting the animal rights extremists’ violent tactics will ensure that important animal enterprises, like biomedical industries, stay in California for example, rather than go to India or China.
The AETA gives law enforcement the tools they need to adequately combat radical animal rights extremists’ who commit violent acts against innocent people because they work with animals. This is terrorism and cannot be tolerated.
The AETA was introduced after the EPW Committee held two hearings on the issue. The AETA has express first amendment protections. The AETA has a staggered penalty structure to meet varying levels of violent offenses. The AETA carries a penalty of life imprisonment for the death of an individual resulting from animal rights extremists’ dangerous tactics.