Washington - The U.S. House passed the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act last month in lame-duck session, sending the measure to President Bush's desk for his signature.
WASHINGTON — The U.S. House passed the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act last month in lame-duck session, sending the measure to President Bush's desk for his signature.
The bill, which passed the Senate by unanimous consent in September, combats animal activist extremism by closing loopholes and increasing penalties in federal law dealing with criminal acts against animal enterprises.
Current federal law criminalizes animal rights terrorism directed at animal research organizations, farms, zoos, pet stores, etc. Yet the new legislation, which amends Animal Enterprise Protection Act of 1992, expands the law to include tertiary targets such as insurance companies and other business partners of animal enterprises. It also authorizes the Department of Justice to apprehend, prosecute and convict individuals committing animal enterprise terror. Violators face a year in prison for economic damages of $10,000 or less. Five-year sentences are mandated for those who threaten bodily harm, and prison sentences of up to 10 years can result in the event of injuries.
The American Veterinary Medical Association as well as the nation's biomedical and research community support the measure.