WASHINGTON, DC – Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Chairman of the Environment & Public Works Committee today hailed President Bush’s signing 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. The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA) S. 3880, co-sponsored in the Senate by Senators Inhofe and Feinstein, along with Rep. Tom Petri (R-Wisc.) inthe House by was drafted with technical assistance from counter-terror experts at the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Senate passed legislation on September 29, 2006 the House passed identical legislation on November 13, 2006. As Chairman, Senator Inhofe conducted two hearings on Eco-Terrorism that can be found by in clicking on these links: http://epw.senate.gov/hearing_statements.cfm?id=247470 and http://epw.senate.gov/hearing_statements.cfm?id=237836.
"I am proud the President signed into law my bill that provides law enforcement much needed tools to adequately combat radical animal rights extremists’ who commit violent acts against innocent people because of their work with animal research," Senator Inhofe said. "My bill, that gained unanimous support of Congress, 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 Tom Petri (R-Wisc.) in the House to successfully craft bi-partisan legislation that will help put an end to these horrendous tactics."
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 extremist’s dangerous tactics.