Earlier this week, the American Bar Association (ABA) voted down a resolution submitted by the New York City Bar Association (NYCBA) that would repeal the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA). If passed, the resolution would have required ABA to ask Congress to repeal the law and for the FBI to no longer enforce AETA.
So what does this mean for livestock producers? I visited with Will Coggin, Center for Consumer Freedom’s (CCF) senior research analyst, who pointed out what a “yes” vote would have meant for animal owners in the U.S.
“If you look at the resolution, it’s pretty radical,” explains Coggin. “NYCBA decided to withdraw the resolution but plans to reintroduce it at the next ABA meeting on Feb. 5-11, 2014 in Chicago. NYCBA’s logic, if you can call it that, says AETA infringes on free speech. They say this law creates a chilling effect, so that animal rights activists are afraid to take part in conversations about animal welfare.”
Excuse me, but it seems to me that the only thing “chilling” about animal rights activists is their behavior. Just look at how they have burglarized research institutions and turned animals into the wild, torched medical research facilities, and threatened biosecurity on farms. Most recently, a group calling itself Iowans for Animal Liberation, dumped red paint on the Iowa State Fair butter cow, attempting to ruin what has been a century-old tradition.
In fact, according to HumaneWatch.org, in 2013 alone, animal rights terrorists have attempted firebombing a police car in Vancouver, burglarized an Idaho mink farm, vandalized a San Diego fur store, and freed pheasants from a farm in Riverside, CA.
“You still see PETA having street protests and HSUS bullying companies,” Coggin added. “The law is not infringing upon their rights. We need anti-terrorism laws to project animal owners from acts of violence and vandalism. Activists can practically shout fire in a pet store, but they can’t burn it down. Repealing the AETA would only encourage intimidation campaigns from animal rights groups while taking tools away from law enforcement. Imagine if the FBI said they wouldn’t enforce this terrorism law, what kind of message does that send? It would embolden these groups to take action against pet and livestock owners.”
Coggin encourages concerned folks to contact their state bar association or any lawyers they who know are ABA members, and let them know how they feel about repealing the AETA law.
If this resolution is passed in February, I fear the repercussions for animal owners and how animal rights groups might be emboldened. I encourage you to let your voice be heard on this topic and make sure that the laws that protect us stay in place.
The vandalism that occurred at the Iowa State Fair to the butter sculpture is a good reminder for all of us who may have livestock on display at upcoming county and state fairs. We need to make sure that nighttime security is in place and that we keep our eyes and ears open for any potential troublemakers. Animal- and agri-terrorism may not seem like a real threat, until it happens to you. So be aware and stay vigilant.
What are your thoughts on this topic? Is this something animal agriculture should be concerned about? Leave your thoughts in the comments section.