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Supreme Court: Appeal from convicted animal rightists denied

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear the appeal of six animal rights activists convicted under the Animal Enterprise Protection Act (AEPA).

The six, who were the leaders and organizers of Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) and organized an intimidation campaign of “direct action” against companies and individuals affiliated with Huntingdon Life Sciences, were convicted by a jury in March, 2006. A federal appeals court turned down their appeal in October, 2009.

“Considering that twenty years ago it was difficult to interest law enforcement in the issue, the justice system has come a long way in protecting animal research and those who conduct it,” said National Association of Biomedical Research (NABR) President Frankie Trull.



The Justice Department urged the Supreme Court not to hear the case, saying that while the activists did have the right to protest, “They did not, however, have the right to organize and execute a campaign of violence and intimidation designed to force others to accept their views. It has long been established that incitement and threats are not constitutionally protected.”

In response to increasing acts of intimidation and violence against the biomedical research community, NABR led the charge for passage of both the 1992 Animal Enterprise Protection Act (AEPA) and in 2006, a subsequent amendment to the AEPA known as the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA). The law expands criminal prohibitions against the use of force, violence, and threats involving animal enterprises.



The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear the appeal of six animal rights activists convicted under the Animal Enterprise Protection Act (AEPA).

The six, who were the leaders and organizers of Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) and organized an intimidation campaign of “direct action” against companies and individuals affiliated with Huntingdon Life Sciences, were convicted by a jury in March, 2006. A federal appeals court turned down their appeal in October, 2009.

“Considering that twenty years ago it was difficult to interest law enforcement in the issue, the justice system has come a long way in protecting animal research and those who conduct it,” said National Association of Biomedical Research (NABR) President Frankie Trull.

The Justice Department urged the Supreme Court not to hear the case, saying that while the activists did have the right to protest, “They did not, however, have the right to organize and execute a campaign of violence and intimidation designed to force others to accept their views. It has long been established that incitement and threats are not constitutionally protected.”

In response to increasing acts of intimidation and violence against the biomedical research community, NABR led the charge for passage of both the 1992 Animal Enterprise Protection Act (AEPA) and in 2006, a subsequent amendment to the AEPA known as the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA). The law expands criminal prohibitions against the use of force, violence, and threats involving animal enterprises.


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