So, what is the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, you ask? Well, in short, it’s a bill that was passed by the United States Congress on November 27, 2006. It replaced the Animal Enterprise Protection Act from 1992, with the assertions that animal rights activists were using dangerous new tactics like violent threats and targeting those affiliated with animal enterprises. But though it may have been presented as a solution to protect families and others affiliated with animal enterprises, the wording of the bill is rather ambiguous. “Animal Enterprises”, “loss of any real or personal property”, “reasonable fear” have a lot of space for interpretation, as well as the penalties. They vary greatly from large fines to several years in prison, depending on “economic damage”. This includes any loss of profits in replacing damaged property, redoing experiments, or increasing security because of intimidation. Let’s think about that for a second. Seems to me that this act is more concerned with profits than actual protection of the people. Not to mention violates constitutional rights of the activists. How can anyone attempt to protest against the actions of governments and corporations if anything they do is taken as an act of terrorism?
How far is society taking the anti-terrorism motion? Have our governments’ actions been really necessary? Have they crossed the line? Where is the line? It brings to mind one of my favourite scenes from Boston Legal. Season 2, episode 19 when Alan Shore closes his argument by saying “Last night I went to bed with a book, not nearly as much fun as a 29 year old, but the book contained a speech by Adlai Stevenson. The year was 1952, he said ‘The tragedy of our day is the climate of fear in which we live and fear breeds repression. Too often sinister threats to the Bill of Rights, to freedom of the mind, are concealed under the cloak of anti-Communism.’ Today, it’s the cloak of anti-Terrorism. Stevenson also remarked that it’s far easier to fight for principles than to live up to them. I know we are all afraid, but the Bill of Rights, we have to live up to that, we simply must.” It’s our job, our civic duty to let the government know when they’ve gone too far. Whether or not the AETA falls under this category I suppose it up for interpretation.
Something to consider, anyways.
[To see a side-by-side comparison of the acts, visit this link: http://abolishtheaeta.org/web/aeta-v-aepa-a-side-by-side-comparison/ ]