US legislates against animal rights terrorism
The US House of Representatives passed the Animal
Enterprise Terrorism Act in mid-November, following unanimous passage through
the Senate in late September. This extends the scope of the Animal
Enterprise Protection Act of 1992.
By Simon Shane
A feature of the new law is that penalties will now be
imposed for attacks or threats against individuals associated with intensive
livestock production. During the recent campaign against confined sows in
Arizona, death threats were made against opponents of the initiative and reports
of fire bombings used to intimidate participants in the industry have increased.
Environmental and animal rights activists have come under
increasing scrutiny from the Federal Bureau of Investigation based on their past
activities and their potential to inflict physical injury or death and destruction
of property. The Animal Liberation Front has been involved in attacks on
animal care facilities of research institutions and universities and has also
been involved in intrusive trespass onto livestock installations.
Progress in improving animal welfare and correcting obvious deficiencies
can be achieved through reasonable evaluation of facts and cooperation among
participants comprising concerned consumers, regulatory officials and industry
leaders. Examples include cessation of starvation-induced molting and
severe beak trimming in the US egg industry, the introduction of mechanical
harvesting for broilers and improved handling, transport and stunning of both
broilers and turkeys.
Zealots advocating what amounts to terrorism have the avowed objective
of eliminating all intensive livestock production. History has shown that
these misguided individuals will apply any legitimate or extra-legal approach
and are prepared to create fear, apply intimidation and destroy property.
Faced with the growing problem of animal rights
terrorism, the industry should increase security, correct obvious malpractices,
develop proactive programs to project a positive image to consumers and work
closely with legislators and law enforcement agencies to suppress overtly
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