“The fact of the matter is that there are extremist individuals and groups that will go through great lengths to put you out of business,” said Ricardo Solano, Jr., in his keynote address at the Animal Agriculture Alliance’s Stakeholders Summit in Arlington, Va. “The recent passage of the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act sends a clear signal to animal-rights extremists that if their activities cross the line, the federal government will not stand idly by.”

He explained that recent amendments to the Animal Enterprise Protection Act of 1992 are designed explicitly for acts like intimidation, stalking and harassment that activists apply with the intend of shutting down farms, ranches, researchers and others who use and care for animals. While serving in the Terrorism Unit at the U.S. Attorney’s office, Solano successfully tried one of the early cases under the Animal Enterprise Protection Act, which charged an animal-rights extremist group and six of its leaders with terrorizing an animal-testing laboratory as well as several pharmaceutical, financial and insurance companies that did business with it.

“First Amendment rights end when people cross the line from protest to threatening and intimidating others in the hope of getting them to stop their business or quit their jobs,” he said. Solano made special emphasis to ensure that the audience understood that AETA also explicitly illegalized what is often referred to as tertiary party targeting, in which extremists intimidate businesses such as banks or suppliers, into not doing business with the activists' real target.

“The acts committed by extremists groups to intimidate and cause fear in order to close down our nation’s farms and ranches is inexcusable,” said Kay Johnson, Alliance executive vice president. “Our data shows that acts of animal-rights terrorism on food-chain businesses in the United States increased in 2006. It is our sincere hope that federal law enforcement will use the power that AETA provides to bring these people who are so radical as to feel justified in threatening America’s farmers and ranchers, who are law-abiding, tax-paying, job-providing citizens.”

Source: Animal Agriculture Alliance