Oct 26, 2006
10/25/06: Activism = Terrorism?
SOURCE OF INFORMATION:
Equal Justice Alliance - Free Speech for All
Equal Justice Alliance - Free Speech for All
This alert is sponsored by the Equal Justice Alliance, a recently formed
national coalition of social advocacy organizations preserving free speech
and equal treatment under the law. Kinship Circle is a member of the Equal
Justice Alliance executive committee.
Our Mission: To protect the right to free speech guaranteed under the U.S.
Constitution by defeating The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act.
To learn more, please visit http://www.NoAETA.org
IN THIS ALERT:
- You Are Not A Terrorist
- Call To Action -- Only You Can Stop AETA
- Sample Letter To House Representative
- Talking Points To House Representative
- AETA Resources & Organizations That Oppose It
1. YOU ARE NOT A TERRORIST.
If you value your First Amendment rights to free speech and assembly, the
Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA) concerns YOU. The Equal Justice
Alliance, a coalition of national organizations, seeks to defend your rights
to advocate for animals, the environment and social justice. If AETA
succeeds, it could apply to any social advocacy group.
Mission: To stop legislators from enacting AETA into law.
Status of AETA: AETA passed the Senate by unanimous consent. This means no
Senator objected. The House Judiciary Committee is likely to fast-track AETA
for passage when your Representatives return to Washington D.C. on Nov. 13.
BE HEARD ON THE HILL!
Congressional contacts tell us they haven't heard from you. But they did get
a mouthful from bio-medical companies that lobbied hard. Now is the time to
speak and act. Don't let AETA pass in the House. Be the squeaky wheel!
2. CALL TO ACTION -- ONLY YOU CAN STOP AETA
Sample Letter & Talking Points Follow
1. Identify your federal Representative and find his/her contact info:
Congress.org LINK: http://www.Congress.org
Project Vote Smart LINK: http://www.vote-smart.org
USA House of Representatives LINK: http://www.house.gov
House Judiciary Committee Members LINK: http://judiciary.house.gov/fullcommittee.aspx
**If your Representative is on the House Judiciary Committee, your meeting
with him/her will have the greatest impact.
2. Meet with your Representative NOW.
A face-to-face meeting in your district office is best. Reps wants your
vote, so they'll listen when you say you oppose AETA. Mostly, they are
uninformed about AETA, but happy to jump on the anti-terrorism bandwagon.
They don't realize your civil liberties are at stake. Educate them.
* Bring a couple friends with you.
* State the organization you represent, if applicable.
* Bring a bulleted list of talking points (see #4 in this alert) to leave with your Representative.
* Follow up with a thank-you fax, email or phone call.
* Get to know their staff.
* Be the squeaky wheel!
3. Fax your Representative a letter NOW.
If you cannot meet in person, a fax is best; email is okay. Do not send by
mail because they won't get it in time. For fax or email, use standard
letter form, with your Rep's name and address at the top and your signature,
address, phone number at the bottom.
4. Follow up.
Call or lobby your Representative on Monday, 11/13/06, when they return to
Washington D.C. If lobbying -- most effective approach -- call your Rep's
office to schedule an appointment in advance. Even if they support AETA,
remind them you oppose it and leave a copy of your talking points.
3. SAMPLE LETTER TO FAX OR EMAIL
Use portions of our sample letter, but please add original thoughts.
Hundreds of identical letters lessen impact.
**SAMPLE LETTER also attached in Word Doc, to easily personalize/print/fax.
The Honorable Representative _________________________________
TYPE IN YOUR REPRESENTATIVES OFFICE ADDRESS HERE
Dear Representative __________________________________,
I strongly oppose the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA), H.R. 4239/S.
3880. As elections draw near, I am one registered voter who will pay close
attention to your stance on AETA.
This bill inflates the Animal Enterprise Protection Act of 1992 with
disproportionately harsh penalties for anyone who simply intends to
interfere with an animal enterprise but causes no profit loss, or whose
actions cause a corporate profit loss of at least $10,000. AETA is not
genuinely targeted to fight terrorism. Instead, it casts a wide net that
criminalizes protected free speech. Shockingly, the Senate passed S. 3880 on
9/29/06 by unanimous consent, with little regard for the flood of opposition
from its constituency.
Please oppose AETA and its shameful attempt to equate activists with
terrorists. At the very least, re-open House hearings for a full and fair
debate from citizens who will be affected. If AETA were law many years ago,
the suffragettes, Harriet Tubman, Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks and even
Mahatma Ghandi would have been branded terrorists.
AETA may castigate whistle-blowers and cruelty investigators. For example,
this bill potentially disarms government inspectors or consumer watchdog
groups who seek to expose suspected mad cow disease or allegations of
cruelty and unhygienic conditions inside a puppy mill, research lab or
factory farm. Their job is to interfere with an "animal enterprise."
AETA is excessive. Disciplinary measures already exist for vandalism,
property loss, criminal trespass, harassment, assault and bodily injury. If
animal advocates commit these crimes, they should be arrested and prosecuted
in the same manner as other lawbreakers.
I am baffled as to why my government believes I need the Animal Enterprise
Terrorism Act to feel safe. I would feel far more secure if the Department
of Homeland Security focused on genuine domestic security threats -- rather
than waste taxpayer money to implement a law that erodes the First Amendment
rights of valid organizations and law-abiding citizens.
Your position on the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act will affect my vote
during the November election. I look forward to your response.
4. TALKING POINTS
**TALKING POINTS also attached in Word Doc, to easily personalize/print and
fax or leave with your Rep’s office when you meet in person.
Senate: S. 3880, unanimously passed
House: H.R. 4239, under consideration
QUICK & EASY TALKING POINTS
* AETA needs hearings to ensure fair and adequate debate.
* Laws should be fairly applied to all citizens without singling out animal advocates.
* Advocating for animal protection should not be equated with terrorism.
DETAILED TALKING POINTS
AETA does not genuinely fight terrorism. It unjustly singles out any groups
that advocates for animal protection simply because of political ideology,
and silences lawful advocacy seeking to expose animal cruelty violations.
AETA may divert valuable taxpayer money and resources away from real
Reopen extensive House hearings for fair debate -- by citizens who will be
affected by this bill.
Existing laws sufficiently punish criminal activity. Laws already exist to
protect industries against illegal actions, regardless of who commits the
acts. Indictments and convictions have been made based on current federal
laws, specifically, the Animal Enterprise Protection Act of 1992 and the
Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act of 2002. AETA's additional penalties are
excessive and drastically expand the 1992 and 2002 Acts.
AETA's exceptionally severe penalties do not fit the crime. According to the
United States Sentencing Commission, in 2005 the median sentence in federal
courts for larceny was 4 months; for embezzlement, 4 months; for sexual
abuse, 4.5 years; and for manslaughter, 3 years. Instead, AETA proposes up
to eighteen months for an offense involving no threatened or' actual
economic damage or bodily harm, or up to life imprisonment for economic
Honest citizens may not know if they are acting within the law because AETA
is overbroad and vague. AETA may tar honest citizens wrongfully charged with
the terrorist smudge. Whether or not they triumph in court, their reputation
may be irreparably damaged.
Several corporations that support AETA are repeat offenders. They have been
cited for numerous animal welfare violations. These corporations have a
vested interest in silencing lawful dissent.
"Animal Enterprise" includes virtually every retail business in the United
States. Nearly every retailer "sells ... animal products for profit." That
includes grocery stores (meat/dairy products), shoe stores (leather shoes),
clothing stores (wool sweaters), restaurants (meat/dairy products). That
means anti-pornography activists who target adult bookstores selling leather
attire may be terrorists.
If AETA were law many years ago, the suffragettes and civil rights leaders
-- including Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, and Mahatma Gandhi -- may have
been disgraced as terrorists.
5. AETA RESOURCES & OPPOSITION:
Equal Justice Alliance - http://www.noaeta.org/resources.htm
From the editors of Satya and GreenIsTheNewRed.com:
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and other prominent national
groups have come out against the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act. These are
just some of the animal organizations and businesses that oppose the AETA.
Action For Animals - Austin
Action For Animals - Oakland
Alley Cat Allies
American Anti-Vivisection Society
American Vegan Society
Animal Legal Defense Fund
Animal Protection Institute
Animal Rights Coalition, MN
Animal Rights Hawaii
Animal Rights International
Animal Sanctuary Foundation
Animal Welfare Advocacy
Animal Welfare Institute
The Animals Voice
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
Arizona State University
Animal Welfare Association
The Association of Sanctuaries
Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights
Avian Welfare Coalition
Bay Area Vegetarians
Best Friends Animal Society
Catskill Animal Sanctuary
CARE (Coalition for Animal Rights Education)
Compassion Over Killing
Dogs Deserve Better
East Bay Animal Advocates
Eastern Shore Sanctuary and Education Center
Equal Justice Alliance
FATE (Friends of Animals and Their Environment)
Florida Voices for Animals
Friends of Animals
Humane Society of the US
In Defense of Animals
International Fund for Animal Welfare
L.A. Lawyers for Animals
Last Chance for Animals
League of Humane Voters
League of Humane Voters - CA
League of Humane Voters - NY
Maryland Animal Advocates
Mercy For Animals
Midwest Avian Adoption &
Rescue Services (MAAR
National Anti-Vivisection Society
New England Anti-Vivisection Society (NEAV
Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
Primate Freedom Project
San Diego Animal Advocates
SHARK (Showing Animals Respect and Kindness)
Sonoma People for Animal Rights
Students for Education on Animal Liberation
United Animal Nations
United Poultry Concerns
Valley Vegan Society (Northampton, MA)
Vegetarian Society of El Paso
The VegNews Network
Voice for a Viable Future
Woodstock Animal Rights Movement
Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary
World Orchard Project
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