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[] Update: Animal and Ecological Terrorism Act,

Update: Animal and Ecological Terrorism Act
Civil Rights vs. Fear of Terrorism

Animal  rights  and  environmental  activists are the targets of a new
bill  introduced  into  the  Texas  Legislature  in  February  2003 by
Representative  Ray  Allen  (R-Grapevine).  H.B.  433,  the  so-called
"Animal and Ecological Terrorism Act" is loosely modeled after federal
laws  designed  to  combat  the "war on terrorism;" however, this bill
uses  fear as the tool to implement legislation seeking to criminalize
any  activity  pertaining  to animal rights or environmental activism.
Did  I  mention  that  the  model  bill  was  drafted  by the national
lobbyists group, The U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance (USSA)? The USSA, along
with the America Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)are promoting this
bill nationwide.

A Glimpse at some of the Wording of H.B. 433:

Definition of Animal Rights or Ecological Terrorist Organization under
this bill: Two or more persons organized for the purpose of supporting
any  politically  motivated activity intended to obstruct or deter any
person  from participating in an activity involving animals or natural
Definition   of  Political  Motivation:  any  intent  to  influence  a
governmental entity or the public to take a specific political action.
If  passed  in  its current form, H.B. 433 would destroy Texan's civil
rights.  Under  the  bill, anyone could be considered a "terrorist" if
they were to participate in any activity (legitimate peaceful protest,
civil   disobedience,   demonstration,   or   debate)   on  behalf  of
environmental  or  animal  welfare.  Similarly,  contributing money or
contributions in any form to these supposed "terrorist cells" would be

The  bill  would  also  create  a  state-run  Website  similar  to the
state-run  sex-offender sites, wherein all offenders would be required
to register their name, address, and provide a current photo for three

Furthermore,  the  bill  language  implies that a journalist could not
enter  a  facility  (any  facility  that  is  potentially  harming the
environment  or  animals)  to photograph or record any wrongdoings for
the  purpose of informing the public or defaming the facility for such

The  U.S.  Sportsman's Alliance has lobbied variations of this bill to
legislators  in  Mississippi,  Washington,  New York and Wisconsin for
2003  as  part  of a state-by-state campaign to bring down the radical
environmental and animal rights movements.

My  personal  opinion is that the only people this bill stands to hurt
are  the  activists  engaging  in legitimate means of protest. Several
bills  trying  to  curb  politically motivated acts of "eco-terrorism"
have  been passed in Oregon and Washington; yet, the numbers for these
crimes  continue to rise steadily. Frustration and fear on the part of
lawmakers  and  federal  agents  have left them with the idea that all
activists  are  involved  in illegal activity; however, proposing laws
such  as  these which rob us of our basic constitutional rights is not
the answer.

Similar  bills  have  appeared  within the past few weeks in New York,
Pennsylvania,  and Maine, and may soon appear in (at least) Wisconsin,
Mississippi and Washington.

~ Lara Jill Rosenblith

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