For more information contact Bob Adams at (202) 466-3800.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 2003
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
BOB ADAMS (202) 742-8516
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Environmental and animal rights groups who commit acts of terror are now targets themselves of a new model bill offered by the bipartisan American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).
The Animal and Ecological Terrorism Act (AETA) creates penalties for persons encouraging, financing, assisting or engaged in acts of animal and ecological terrorism.
“Most states make no legal distinction between a disgruntled youth vandalizing a public park and an organized eco-terrorist torching a family’s home,” said Sandy Liddy Bourne, advisor to ALEC’s Homeland Security Working Group. “The legislation specifically addresses actions that are designed to intimidate, coerce, invoke fear, or other forms of terror that are committed in the name of environmental or animal rights activism.”
The Act, itself, is detailed in a new publication, Animal & Ecological Terrorism in America, published by ALEC’s Homeland Security Working Group.
“One difficulty in using basic vandalism, trespassing, and destruction of property laws lies in the states’ inability to enter asset forfeiture proceedings," said Bourne.
Threats of domestic terrorism in the name of animal and/or environmental rights are largely attributed to two domestic terror organizations: The Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and the Earth Liberation Front (ELF). Considered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to be the most dangerous of domestic terror threats, these organizations facilitate ideologically driven vandalism, property damage, theft, and general terrorism against individuals, groups, and governmental agencies that do not fit their vision of so-called environmental equity.
“This legislation takes more than ‘a bite out of crime,’ it jails and penalizes animal and eco-terrorists and their sympathetic financial agents for what they are--domestic terrorists,” said Bourne.
According to the FBI, animal and ecological terrorists have committed more than 600 criminal acts since 1996. In recent months, ELF and ALF have claimed responsibility for destroying several homes in Washington state, California, and Michigan, releasing 10,000 minks from a farm in Washington state, and attacking three California car dealerships. The groups boast of carrying out similar actions since the mid-1990s, resulting in nearly $50 million in damage.