Attention Animal Owners and Businesses! The New York City Bar Association wants to ask the DOJ to suspend prosecutions under the Animal Enterprise Protection Act (AEPA), and the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA)

 

This message is brought by The Cavalry Group, a private member based company protecting and defending the Constitutional and private property rights of law abiding animal owners, animal-related businesses, hunters, and agriculture concerns legally, nationwide. They strive to defend their members against the onslaught of anti-private property and anti-agriculture animal rights activism in addition to challenging the infiltration of animal rights activism in government at the local, state, and federal levels.

As you know, a major congressional legislative victory for animal enterprise industries in the battle against animal activist extremists was the enactment of the Animal Enterprise Protection Act (AEPA) in 1993, and the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA) in 2006. (See AETA chronology here.)

The FBI and other federal law enforcement agencies use the AETA and AEPA to investigate and prosecute animal rights/ecoterrorist violence against animal facilities, and legitimate animal businesses.

Supported by a broad coalition of animal industries, led by the Farm Animal Welfare Coalition (FAWC) and the National Association for Biomedical Research (NABR), AEPA for the first time made animal rights/activist violence against a facility holding animals a federal crime.  AETA built upon that victory and amended AEPA to expand the protections not only to a broader definition of animal facilities, but to organizations and individuals working in or with legitimate animal industries.

 

Attacking these important legislative protections, the New York City Bar Association has called upon the American Bar Association (ABA) House of Delegates Resolution 116, urging Congress to repeal USC Title 18, Sec. 43, AEPA/AETA, and for the Department of Justice et al, to cease prosecutions under the law until the constitutionality is upheld.

 

The ABA House of Delegates meets Monday, August 12, as part of the ABA annual meeting in San Francisco.  The NYC Bar claims AEPA/AETA are overbroad, unconstitutional and “chill” free speech, right of assembly, etc.

 

The need for AEPA and AETA was/is clear; animal agriculture, the pet industry, the scientific research community and animals in education/entertainment are under siege.

 

The FBI declared that animal rights and ecoterrorism are this country’s major domestic terrorism threats.

 

BE AWARE:  The New York City Bar Association has reported to the American Bar Association (ABA) House of Delegates to consider at its annual meeting on August 12, a resolution calling for ABA to urge Congress to repeal AETA (USC Title 18, Sec. 43), and “that until such time as the constitutionality of the Act is resolved, urges the Department of Justice to forebear from any further prosecutions under the Act.”

 

If successful, this action would eliminate

the protection of the AEPA and AETA.

 

The resolution is in the ABA Section on Individual Rights and Responsibilities.  It’s been reported that the Animal Law Committee of the Pennsylvania Bar Association may be preparing a recommendation to the state association to support the NYC action at the ABA meeting.

 

The arguments made by opponents of AETA are that it is 1) unconstitutional and overbroad in applying federal protection beyond “domestic terrorism” to “a host of otherwise constitutionally protected activity, and 2) that by targeting conduct that causes economic harm, it somehow criminalizes First Amendment-protected activities (free speech and assembly), including picketing, protesting, boycotts, etc.

 

ACTION NEEDED NOW:

 

The Cavalry Group urges any/all individuals and organizations in animal agriculture, the horse industry, and the pet industry to take action immediately:

 

Notify your memberships of this threat, as well as your state and regional affiliates and breed groups.

Notify and inform your U.S. Representative and Senators immediately about the importance of AETA and AEPA, and why they must NOT be repealed.  Congressional recess is during the month of August — take advantage of this time to meet with your Congressional representatives.

Inform your association attorneys of this threat and ask them to express their opposition to the ABA resolution.

State organizations must immediately notify state bar associations of our opposition to Resolution 116 and ask in the strongest terms to oppose the resolution during the House of Delegates meeting August 12.

If you happen know an attorney who is a member of the House of Delegates, please urge her/him to vote against Resolution 116.

Individual attorney members of the ABA must tell the House of Delegates of their individual and collective opposition.

If you know organizations in construction, auto sales, etc. – state or local – long-time targets of ecoterrorism, please pass this information along to them.

 

TALKING POINTS:

 

The need for AEPA and AETA was/is clear; animal agriculture, the pet industry, the scientific research community and animals in education/entertainment are under siege.

The FBI declared animal rights and ecoterrorism are this country’s major domestic terrorism threats.

Federal law enforcement officials testified to Congress that they needed stronger authority than what was currently in federal criminal law.

These laws were passed after extensive hearings, debate and input from all interested parties. The original bills were modified to further ensure protections of free speech, freedom of assembly and to protect legitimate whistleblowers.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) was consulted throughout the legislative process, contributed greatly to the evolution of the laws, and formally notified Congress it did not object to AETA as amended. The ACLU letter is available by clicking here.

The law has been judiciously applied; federal law enforcement has used AETA sparingly, with only a few arrests, yet has achieved what it was designed to achieve, namely a disincentive to violent acts.  In the 6.5 years AETA has been in effect, there’s been a marked decrease in the violence/harassment perpetrated against farms/ranches, meat processors, scientists, and those who do business with them.

There is no evidence that the law has had a chilling effect on First Amendment free speech rights of lawful animal rights or other activists. These groups demonstrate, they picket, they raise money, and they petition Congress to pass stricter regulations without any interference from federal law enforcement.

Judge Whyte, in the Buddenberg case, had an opportunity to declare AETA unconstitutional on First Amendment grounds and specifically declined to do so.  He said he couldn’t imagine something prohibited under AETA that would be protected speech. He dismissed on the grounds that the indictment was flawed.[1]

 

Should you have any questions about this matter, please contact Mindy Patterson at mindy@TheCavalryGroup.com or by calling 855-748-4210.

 

Regards,

 

Mindy Patterson

President, The Cavalry Group

 

[1] U.S. v. Buddenberg, Slip Copy, 2009 WL 3485937 at 12 (N.D. Cal. 2009)

 

 

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About Country Patriot

Rancher, Patriot, private property rights and personal responsibility activist
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