November 13, 2006 WASHINGTON, DC – Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Chairman of the Environment & Public Works Committee together with Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif .), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, along with Rep. Tom Petri (R-Wisc.), the sponsor of the House version of S. 3880, today hailed the House of Representatives passage of bi-partisan legislation that will enhance the effectiveness of the U.S. Department of Justice’s ability to prosecute animal rights extremists who cross the line and utilize violence and terrorist threats, while expressly preserving the First Amendment rights of animal rights activists to peacefully protest and boycott lawfully. The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA), co-sponsored in the Senate by Senators Inhofe and Feinstein, was drafted with technical assistance from counter-terror experts at the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Senate passed identical legislation on September 29, 2006 and the bill now goes to the President to be signed into law.
Senator Inhofe Statement:
“With unanimous support in both the House and the Senate, Congress has now provided 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,” Senator Inhofe said. “This bill is an important step in the effort to combat animal rights extremists’ increasingly violent tactics. We can no longer tolerate criminally based activism regardless of the cause it allegedly advances. I am proud to have worked closely with Senator Feinstein in the Senate and Congressman Petri in the House to successfully craft bi-partisan legislation that will help put an end to these horrendous tactics.”
Senator Feinstein Statement:
“Passage of this act helps put an end to the deplorable actions of animal rights extremists and helps to ensure that eco-terrorists do not impede important medical progress in California and across the country,” Senator Feinstein said. “We need the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act to fight the evolving tactics used by animal rights extremists, including the latest trend of targeting any business and associate working with animal research facilities.”
Rep. Tom Petri (R-Wisc.)
"Between January of 1990 and June of 2004, extremist movements such as the Animal Liberation Front, Stop Huntington Animal Cruelty, and the Environmental Liberation Front committed more than 1,100 acts of terrorism, causing more than $120 million in damages. Animal rights extremists advance their cause through 'direct action,' which includes death threats, vandalism, animal releases, and bombings. I applaud Sen. Inhofe's success in the Senate with his bill, and I'm pleased that we have now completed the effort in the House."
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.
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.