SAPL eAlert: Congress May Act on Two Key Issues Before Session Ends

October 26th, 2006 5:38 pm by Kelly Garbato

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From: Cathy Liss, Legislative Director – action [at] saplonline.org
Date: Oct 25, 2006 4:36 PM
Subject: SAPL eAlert: Congress May Act on Two Key Issues Before Session Ends

If you are unable to view this SAPL eAlert, please click here.

We are writing you today about two important measures that may come before Congress after the elections and before the end of the session – one that your Representative should oppose and another that your Senators should support. Please take a moment to contact your legislators about these issues immediately.

1. Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act Prevents Peaceful Protest

2. Horse Slaughter Bill Needs a Big Push, Now!

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1. Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act Prevents Peaceful Protest

The Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) and the Society for Animal Protective Legislation (SAPL) have always been committed to improving the welfare of animals through non-violent means. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “[n]on-violence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man.” However, H.R. 4239, the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA), threatens to undermine our ability to promote animal welfare by criminalizing peaceful methods we have been employing for decades.

If passed by Congress and signed into law, the AETA would amend the Animal Enterprise Protection Act (AEPA) of 1992, which currently criminalizes the “physical” disruption of any animal enterprise resulting in economic damages exceeding $10,000. The AETA would extend the activities covered by the AEPA to include those that damage or disrupt an animal enterprise. These activities could include peaceful leafleting, demonstrations and media campaigns. If one participates in such activities and they result in economic disruption or damage to an animal enterprise – such as a “loss of profits” – the individual is at risk of being charged as a terrorist and penalized under the Act. For example, handing out leaflets in front of a furrier selling coats made with fur obtained through use of the brutal steel-jaw leghold trap could be an offense under this proposed bill if the shopkeeper establishes a loss of business. If you protest a researcher causing unnecessary pain and distress to animals during experimentation and the researcher loses his or her funding, you could be prosecuted!

While the AETA contains an exemption for “lawful economic disruption that results from lawful public, governmental or business reaction to the disclosure of information about an animal enterprise,” this exemption covers only those activities resulting in economic disruption, and not those resulting in economic damage. Moreover, the exemption does not specify the types of activities resulting in economic disruption that are exempted, and since it only covers lawful “reaction to the disclosure of information,” it may not include activities such as whistle blowing and undercover investigations.

Proponents of the AETA claim that this legislation is necessary to stop the increasing illegal activities of “animal rights extremists.” However, the AETA contains broad sweeping and ambiguous language that essentially classifies as “terrorism” many lawful and constitutionally protected activities directed by animal welfare advocates against animal enterprises that mistreat and abuse animals. AETA threatens to seriously impede the animal welfare movement by permitting the prosecution of advocates who damage or disrupt animal enterprises using peaceful and legal activities that are within the confines of existing law.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

Please contact your Representative TODAY, urging her or him to strongly oppose H.R. 4239. This undemocratic and reckless piece of legislation is being pushed by organizations that seem more interested in hiding animal abuse than working to identify and stop animal cruelty. The National Association for Biomedical Research (NABR) and other animal industry groups are using national tragedy and public fear to advance their agenda. NABR, founded by the largest laboratory animal breeding company in the world, has opposed virtually every animal welfare measure before Congress and has worked to undermine existing protections. This is an effort to label and treat animal activists as terrorists. The measure will inhibit the ability of those concerned with the protection of animals to focus attention on those who are mistreating them.

To find your Representative, click here or call the Capitol Hill operator at (202) 224-3121 and request to be connected to your Representative’s office.

Letters to Representatives should be addressed to:

The Honorable (Name)
United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

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2. Horse Slaughter Bill Needs a Big Push, Now!

Following passage in the House of Representatives, the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act is pending in the Senate. If approved, the measure would ban the slaughter of horses for human consumption and the domestic and international transport of live horses or horseflesh for the same purpose. Grassroots efforts from concerned constituents like you have made all the difference in this fight – please continue to contact your Senators!

We hope the bill will be voted on by the Senate when Congress reconvenes following the election, but there will be limited time available and only issues seen as essential are expected to be addressed. We need to be sure Congress recognizes that this legislation is critical, as approximately 2,000 horses are being hauled to slaughter and brutally killed with every week this bill awaits action in the Senate.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

Please contact both of your Senators NOW, urging their co-sponsorship of S. 1915, the Senate companion bill to H.R. 503, and requesting a vote on the legislation when they return in November after the elections. Last year, the Senate voted for a temporary ban on horse slaughter by a vote of 69 to 28. To see how your Senators voted on that measure, click here. If either of Senator voted for this ban, be sure to remind them of (and thank them for) this sensible position.

To find your Senators, click here or call the Capitol Hill operator at (202) 224-3121 and request to be connected to their offices. For more information on horse slaughter and how you can help make a difference for America’s horses, please click here.

Letters to Senators should be addressed to:

The Honorable (Name)
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

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Be sure to tell your legislators you would like to know their positions on these critical issues – and forward us their responses to assist our lobbying efforts.

Please share our “Dear Humanitarian” eAlert with family, friends and co-workers, and encourage them to contact their legislators, too. As always, thank you for your help!

Sincerely,
Cathy Liss
Legislative Director
http://www.saplonline.org
http://www.compassionindex.org

Sign up for SAPL eAlerts to receive the latest legislative news on what you can do to help us protect all animals.

Society for Animal Protective Legislation | PO Box 3719 | Washington | DC | 20027

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