Public Laws | Pending Legislation
Terrorism Against Animal-Use Entities Prohibition Improvement Act
The Federal Bureau of Investigation considers animal rights and environmental activists to be a major domestic terrorism threat. Although animal rights groups generally focus on lawful protest, some groups that are dissatisfied with conventional protest methods have intensified their protests with increasing violence. In May 2004, the Royal Society, the United Kingdomís national academy of science, expressed concern that research budgets would be reduced and scientists may be deterred from careers in animal research due to safety concerns. An influential U.S. homeland security panel known as the Gilmore Commission also expressed concern about violent animal rights activists in the United States.
H.R. 4883, the Terrorism Against Animal-Use Entities Prohibition Improvement Act, contained provisions that would have amended the Animal Enterprise Protection Act, adding economic disruption of an animal enterprise as an offense and increasing fines and prison terms for certain offenses. It would not have provided third-party protection for businesses contracting with or constructing an animal research laboratory. The bill was similar to Representative George R. Nethercutt, Jr.ís (R-WA) Agroterrorism Prevention Act of 2001, which also proposed penalties for and applied Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act provisions to animal enterprise terrorism. H.R. 4883 addressed animal, but not plant, enterprise terrorism and included a wiretapping provision.
Provisions of the Legislation/Impact on NIH
H.R. 4883 would have amended the Animal Enterprise Protection Act, adding and defining offenses including physical and economic disruption. It would have also added animal enterprise terrorism to the list of communication interception authorities. It did not make specific reference to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) or biomedical research but would have provided some protections for NIH investigators using animals in research.
Status and Outlook
H.R. 4883, the Terrorism Against Animal-Use Entities Prohibition Improvement Act, was introduced by Representative Sam Graves (R-MO) on July 21, 2004. It was reported out favorably to the House Committee on the Judiciary without amendment. The bill had no cosponsors. No further action occurred on this legislation during the 108th Congress.