On November 27, 2006, the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA) was officially signed into law. The legislation, which received tremendous bipartisan support in both the House and Senate, amended the Animal Enterprise Protection Act of 1992 (Title 18, Sec. 43 of the US Criminal Code) to expand the criminal prohibitions against the use of force, violence, and threats involving animal enterprises, and increased the penalties for violations of these prohibitions.
In response to increasing acts of intimidation and violence against the biomedical research community, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) introduced in the Senate the bill that came to be the AETA. As chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, Sen. Inhofe held two congressional hearings in 2005 examining the illegal actions of animal extremists and the need for legislation protecting the rights and well-being of our Nation’s scientific community. At the second of those hearings Dr. Jerry Vlasak, a trauma surgeon and animal activist, testified that he stood by public statements he previously made advocating the death of researchers in order to save animals. NABR created the Animal Enterprise Protection Coalition (AEPC) to engage the biomedical research community into a much-needed grassroots campaign that underscored the public support for the legislation.
Today, the AETA provides greater protection for the biomedical research community and their families against intimidation and harassment, and addresses for the first time in federal law, campaigns of secondary and tertiary targeting that cause economic damage to research enterprises.