Equal Justice Alliance: AETA – Where Do We Go from Here?

November 27th, 2006 9:29 pm by Kelly Garbato

The following letter has been circulating on animal rights/welfare listservs, and is also available on the Equal Justice Alliance’s website.


AETA – Where Do We Go from Here?

Source: Equal Justice Alliance

Dear fellow animal activist,

As you are well aware by now, the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA, S. 3880) passed the U.S. Senate by unanimous consent in September. It passed the U.S. House of Representatives on November 13th because we were outmaneuvered by the Republican leadership of the House Judiciary Committee. And now the bill has been signed into law by President Bush. We appreciate your massive outpouring of e-mails and phone calls to Congress. We learned valuable lessons from our lobbying experience. For us, this is a new beginning.

What We Are Doing

We have resolved that Equal Justice Alliance must continue its mission along three tracks:

* To protect equal justice and freedom of speech for animal and other social justice advocates by working to repeal AETA and to prevent future repressive legislation;

* To provide an alternative Congressional watchdog function;

* To promote an atmosphere of respect for animal advocacy within Congress and Justice Department.

We plan to pursue three ways of neutralizing AETA:

* By convincing federal district attorneys not to prosecute under AETA because the law is too broad and vague to make it through the courts;

* By convincing federal courts to dismiss a test case because the law is too broad and vague;

* By convincing Congress that the law is unworkable, unconstitutional, and should be repealed.

These are our projected tasks:

* Establish friendly relations with key legislators, Justice personnel, and defenders of civil liberties.

* Work with bar associations to obtain their support.

* Place favorable stories in the media.

* Develop talking points for contacting your senators and representative to begin the repeal process.

* Plan a major national conference next summer in Los Angeles to promote repeal.

* Compile guidelines for operating in the face of AETA.

* Compile a record of discriminatory enforcement of AETA.

* Ask animal rights and other social justice advocacy groups and individuals to join our effort.

What’s wrong with AETA

Here is a quick summary of the key flaws of AETA, with more details in the section on Why Oppose:

* It was passed by a voice vote of only five Representatives as a non-controversial bill.

* It is excessively broad and vague.

* It imposes disproportionately harsh penalties.

* It effectively brands animal advocates as ‘terrorists’ and denies them equal protection.

* It effectively brands civil disobedience as ‘terrorism’ and imposes severe penalties.

* It has a chilling effect on all forms of protest by endangering free speech and assembly.

* It interferes with investigation of animal enterprises that violate federal laws.

* It detracts from prosecution of real terrorism against the American people.

What You Can Do

Clearly, we can not take on this ambitious challenge without your active and continuing support. We need your help in three specific areas:

* Keep the issue alive among Members of Congress by contacting your two senators and representative periodically, using the arguments on our website, which expand on the talking points listed above.

* Report to us any cases of prosecution of social justice groups. This will help us to demonstrate that AETA enforcement discriminates against animal activists.

* Send a generous contribution to FARM – EJA to help fund this ambitious, crucial campaign. In addition to online giving, checks can be mailed to FARM – EJA, 10101 Ashburton Lane, Bethesda MD 20817, or call us at 800-632-8688 to donate by phone.



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One Response to “Equal Justice Alliance: AETA – Where Do We Go from Here?”

  1. easyVegan.info » Blog Archive » LCA: Breaking News - President Bush Signs AETA, 11/27 Says:

    […] Oy. Literally seconds after posting this update re: AETA, I received the following alert from Last Chance for Animals in my inbox. What a sham. […]

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