Judge Dismisses Charges Against Four Animal Activists

In a rare piece of good news, a federal judge has dismissed the indictments against four animal rights activists who have been charged under the new Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act. This law was written to make it a federal crime to interfere in any way with any industry that utilizes animals as products, test subjects or any other capacity.

The faultiness of such a law has been outlined in great detail. Under the most literal reading of the law, simply being vegan could be construed as an act of terrorism since it interferes with companies’ ability to sell meat, dairy and eggs. This law is a terrifying joke. It’s a stopgap measure to try and stave off the rising tide of consumers aware of the plight of animals in our culture. Animal rights is the biggest moral concern in 2010, and the AETA is a misguided attempt by the animal agriculture industry to paint the animal rights community as a domestic terrorist threat.

How much sillier does it get than to live in a country where the KKK still exists, yet the animal rights community is considered a terrorist threat?

The four activists composing what was being informally referred to as the AETA4 were Joseph Buddenberg, Maryam Khajavi, Nathan Pope and Adriana Stumpo. They were charged with federal crimes for doing what amounted to constitutionally protected free speech: picketing and distributing fliers regarding cruel vivisection taking place at UC Santa Cruz. Judge Ronald White very likely saw through the obvious legal facade when he said the indictment was too vague and lacked “specificity” in the allegations.

It’s likely that the four activists will be indicted again, but it isn’t a good sign for the government’s case that the original indictment has been thrown out. It’s going to be difficult for the U.S. Attorney’s Office to make a more specific indictment without getting to the heart of the matter: that the government is trying to prosecute people for exercising their first amendment rights.

Regardless of where you stand on animal rights, you should oppose the AETA if you believe in the first amendment. This law is an affront to liberty, and the people on the front lines of the greatest moral struggle of our generation are the ones suffering.

My sympathies are with the AETA4 and I can only hope that their lengthy legal battle will soon come to an end.

Photo: steakpinball


Patricia Harris
John T2 years ago

Some laws are meant to be broken!!

Duane B.
.5 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Elizabeth P.
.7 years ago

Speaking out against the outrages committed on other species cannot be legislated out of legality. And I'm getting very tired of every Tom, Dick, and Harry -- mostly the Dicks -- citing the constitution to support their own claims.

Cynthia G.
Cynthia G7 years ago

Industry,profits and politics is lurking behind all of this.

Malinda Misko
Past Member 7 years ago

Thanks for the update on yet more rediculous law. Seems like government is removing our liberties slowly and methodically. One here, one there then how many are truly gone. I believe there is a reason the First Amendment is first, it's big!! Freedom of Speech - a matter of believing and voicing an opinion, although a powerful way to educate others!!

Colleen L.
Colleen L.7 years ago

We have the Patriot Act to thank for this kind of misuse of justice. Speaking out got a lot more difficult with it's implementation.

mariya s.
Mari S7 years ago

If anything needs to be killed, it's this law. I support these four activists and I pray they'll come out of this unbelievable fiasco victoriously.

Barbara T.
Barbara Tetro7 years ago

You notice they didn't pass a law forbidding the anti-abortionists from interfering with Planned Parenthood's right to conduct business. A.E.T.A. should have never been passed. Didn't Diane Feinstein first introduce this bill? Overturn this crap and shame on the 12% that said no. If I were a dude, I would tell you twits to blow me!

Jennifer Blan
Jennifer M7 years ago

Thanks for the info

Drusilla P.
Drusilla P7 years ago

Ouch. I didn't know anything about that silly law.
Thank you for the info.
When are bipeds going to realize that people who torture animals can do the same to helpless humans?
I'm glad that judge dismissed the case!!