After the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act

On March 2, 2006, 6 animal rights activists and the organization, Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty USA (who collectively became known as the SHAC 7) were found guilty of felony charges under a never-before-applied 1992 statute, the Animal Enterprise Protection Act (AEPA).  What is particularly interesting about this case is that none of the 6 activists were found to have personally engaged in terrorist or threatening activity against Huntingdon Life Sciences, an animal-testing lab. Rather, under the AEPA, the defendants  were charged with conspiracy to violate the act by inciting others to engage in activities focused on shutting down Huntingdon Life Sciences operations. In addition to the conspiracy charges there were three counts of interstate stalking via the internet.

Central to the case was the courts treatment of the First Amendment.  In this case, the courts took the controversial position that the defendants’ activities were not protected by the First Amendment because they promoted imminent illegal actions by others, threatening the safety of those subject to the activities.   For further background on this case, go to

On February 16th, at 12:00 P.M. in room 409, Lauren Gazzola, one of the SHAC 7 defendants sentenced to 4 years and 4 months in federal prison, and Reed Clayton Lee, First Amendment specialist, will discuss this case and the aftermath of the SHAC 7 conviction.  This will prove to be a compelling discussion on the broader scope of litigation in the post-9/11  environment, where the definition of terrorist activities and what constitutes the threat of safety to those subject to protest falls under questionable scrutiny and how such scrutiny impacts free speech rights.

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