A recent article by Diane E. Dees at the Mojoblog pointed out that in response to steps being taken to stop institutionalized animal abuse, espcially “factory farming,” the farming industry was lobbying for the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, which, she observed:
…would make it a crime punishable by imprisonment to engage in any act that causes an “animal enterprise” (factory farm, puppy mill, research facility, pet stores, circus, etc.) to lose a profit. These acts include legal activities, such as peaceful protesting and organizing media boycotts. Furthermore, it would make no difference if the animal enterprise were engaging in an obviously illegal activity. Also, there is no exemption for financial damage caused to an enterprise by the dissemination of public information.
Unfortunately, she noted at The Dees Diversion that it passed the House on 11/13. She says it “exacts harsher penalties on those who protest research laboratories, and also makes it easy to prosecute on behalf of anyone connected in any way with an animal enterprise–a wife, a sister, a vendor, an attorney, a public relations firm, etc.” At a moment in history when Supposedly Liberal Dudes are claiming that the right to purchase lap dances at strip clubs is at the cutting edge of the First Amendment, it’s perplexing that the free speech ramifications of this legislation aren’t getting more attention. Actually, I’m not perplexed at all; “depressed” is a more accurate description.