Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Activists Sentenced To 4 to 6 Yrs Under The Animal Enterprise Protection Act

Funny how animal cruelty laws would definitely apply to people outside of the halls of the companies engaging in animal torture, but inside the walls, it’s legal. See any sort of hypocrisy and cognitive dissonance here? If you poured chemicals into the eyes and stomach of a beagle you’d be arrested. But they can do what ever they want with whatever they want and it’s all legal under the guise of science. The name of the act itself truly defines what these businesses do.

Sign of things to come under the Animal Enterprise Protection Act, a federal law amended in 2002 to equate its offences with terrorism. Put another way, a law created and amended by business leaders for business leaders.


US animal rights activists sentenced to 4 to 6 yrs



Tue Sep 12, 2006 10:22 PM BST

By Jon Hurdle

TRENTON, New Jersey (Reuters) - Three animal rights activists convicted under a U.S. anti-terrorism law were sentenced to up to 6 years in prison on Tuesday for a campaign against a British company that tests chemicals on animals.

Prosecutors called the leader of the activists "drunk on power" and the judge said he showed "almost vengeful anger" in a campaign to drive out of business Huntingdon Life Sciences, which tests pharmaceuticals, chemicals and dyes on animals.

The company says on its Web site it uses mice, rabbits, cats, dogs, pigs, sheep, cows, fish, birds and monkeys.

In March, six members of Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty, or SHAC, including the three sentenced on Tuesday, were found guilty of violating the Animal Enterprise Protection Act, a federal law amended in 2002 to equate its offences with terrorism.

It marked the first trial and conviction under that law, federal officials said.

The three had also been found guilty of conspiracy and interstate stalking against employees of Huntingdon's New Jersey operations for urging sympathisers to harass Huntingdon employees, vandalise their cars and publish their names and personal data on the Internet.

Defence attorneys argued that the defendants were exercising their free-speech rights, and SHAC said it was the victim of a government crackdown on dissent.

U.S. District Judge Anne Thompson sentenced former SHAC president Kevin Kjonaas six years in prison.

She rejected defence arguments that Kjonaas, 28, had been motivated by a noble commitment to social justice and just got carried away. Rather, she said, Kjonaas showed his "almost vengeful anger" in devising ways to hurt the company.

U.S. Attorney Charles McKenna, who had sought sentences of up to 10 years, said Kjonaas had cunningly manipulated others in SHAC to get his own way.

"This is a crime of sheer power," McKenna said. "Mr. Kjonaas was drunk on power."

Lauren Gazzola, 27, SHAC's former campaign co-ordinator, was sentenced to 52 months in prison. Jacob Conroy, 30, was sentenced to 4 years.

Kjonaas's lawyer, Robert Stahl, vowed to appeal the convictions and a spokeswoman for SHAC said the sentences would not deter the group from protesting against Huntingdon.

Three other SHAC defendants will be sentenced in coming days.

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