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House Passes Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act [S. 3880]



Yesterday, November 13, 2006,  the House passed by voice vote the “Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act” (S. 3880).  Sponsored by Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) and Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), this bill amends the Animal Enterprise Act of 1992.  The Senate passed this bill by unanimous consent in September, just prior to the Congressional recess.   A similar bill, H.R. 4239, was introduced in the House of Representatives by Congressman Tom Petri (R-WI).  The Senate version of the bill will now be sent to the President.

 The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act clarifies that it is a crime to damage or interfere with a legitimate, legal animal enterprise. As defined by the bill, “animal enterprise” includes commercial and academic enterprises that use or sell animals or animal products for profit, food, agriculture, education, research and testing.  This definition also includes equine activities such as rodeo, horse shows, expos, zoo, breeding facility, pet store and similar lawful equine events. 

The bill expands the monetary and criminal penalties for these crimes and requires restitution for certain economic losses. For instance, the incarceration time for an offense can range from 1 year to life depending on the severity of the crime. What does this mean to the horse industry? Simply put, it prohibits any activities against a horse show or horse fair or expo, such as violent activities at the Celebration by an animal rights group or such.

The bill also contains a provision noting that this bill does not prohibit expressive conduct (including picketing or other peaceful demonstration), which is protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution.  For the entire language of S. 3880 go to http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?c109:3:./temp/~c109l5u4NN

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