Joint Coordinating meeting of AR groups to stop AETA
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Joint Coordinating meeting of AR groups to stop AETA

[Ed. Note] Unfortunately, these efforts didn't stop the Bill from passing, and this is a law we are now forced to live under.

Peter Mueller (League of Humane Voters)
October 2006

As a concerned citizen, and an animal advocate let me inform you of the bill that is currently pending in Congress as HR4239 and S1926 also known as an amendment to the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act. If this bill goes into law, it would effectively make it a crime to engage in non-violent actions similar to those employed by civil rights heroes such as Martin Luther King, Jr., Susan B. Anthony, and Mahatma Gandhi if those actions result (albeit indirectly) in loss of profits for the affected business.

This law would make it illegal to cause a loss of profits to any business which is considered an "animal enterprise," including factory farms, vivisection labs, circuses, fur farms, and other businesses which routinely inflict unimaginable suffering on animals who cannot speak to defend themselves. Even if the loss in profits to the company results from peaceful protests, effective boycotts, or media campaigns, under the language of this law, it could be interpreted as a violation which could impose a hefty prison sentence of several years. This proposed law is clearly unconstitutional and violates First Amendment freedom of speech.

If the amendment to Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act becomes law, it will set a dangerous precedent that may lead to even more repressive legislation being passed in the future. It will lead to a "slippery slope" of increasingly repressive laws which will hamper the ability of other social justice movements to speak out without fear of unjust punishment. If we do not fight the passage of this repressive and unconstitutional law, many people who care deeply about the plight of animals abused for food production, fur, experimentation, and entertainment, will be scared or reluctant to speak out on their behalf and the animals will suffer more as a result. We expect that organizations working on behalf of animals, as well as those dedicated to protecting First Amendment freedom of speech, will act swiftly and without hesitation to fight the passage of this repressive and unconstitutional law.

We would be very much impressed by the progressive political leadership speaking out against the blatant attempt to further erode our already fragile rights of free speech in this country.

To learn more about this law visit and read Will Potter's essays on the subject.

Yours truly,

Peter Muller,

Chair NY State League of Humane Voters

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