Urge Your Representative to Oppose the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act!
Bill No.: H.R. 4239
Primary Sponsors: Representative Thomas Petri (WI-6)
ASPCA Position: Oppose
Action Needed: Write to your representative now and urge him or her to oppose H.R. 4239!
H.R. 4239, the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA), is a bill that could make it a crime punishable by imprisonment to cause any business classified as an "animal enterprise" to suffer a loss of profit—even if the company's financial decline is the result of legal activities, such as peaceful protests, consumer boycotts or media campaigns. The term “animal enterprise” would include manufacturers, distributors and sellers of animals or animal products, research facilities, pet stores, breeders, zoos, rodeos, circuses, and animal shelters and the like.
While the ASPCA strongly opposes acts of violence, including vandalism, property damage and trespass, this bill threatens to criminalize as “terrorism” otherwise lawful, constitutionally protected acts often utilized by citizens and organizations to effect change. Lawful and peaceful protests that, for example, urge a consumer boycott of a company that does not use humane procedures, could be the target of this provision if the activity resulted in economic damage to the company.
The bill would also make it illegal to expose cruel conditions at facilities such as puppy mills and research labs, if exposure of such conditions—even if done lawfully—would result in economic damage to the animal enterprise. There is no exemption in the bill to exclude “economic damage” that results from the disclosure of information about a company’s treatment of animals, which is disclosed through public information.
The AETA has already been passed in the Senate, and a vote in the House is expected very soon. It is critical that you contact your representative immediately to show your opposition to H.R. 4239 and urge him or her to protect our First Amendment rights to freedom of speech by opposing H.R. 4239. Thank you for your support on this issue.