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Publication date: Nov. 15, 2006


The House passed and sent to President Bush Nov. 13, 2006, a bill (S. 3880) imposing stricter limits on animal-rights protesters that some groups felt infringed on their First Amendment rights.

Congress passed the Animal Enterprise Protection Act in 1992 (Public Law 102-346) making it a federal crime to harm people or property involved in "animal enterprises" defined as anything from an animal research lab to a zoo, rodeo, farm, or country fair. Such facilities have often been the targets of protest by animal-rights advocates. This year's bill amends that law and makes it more stringent.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. James M. Inhofe (R-OK), increased fines and penalties for offenses, broadened the scope of people protected, added conspiracy provisions, and broadened the definition of animal enterprise. It also restated and strengthened language in the earlier law aimed at excluding speech and expressive activities protected under the First Amendment, when they did not cause physical harm or property damage.

Last revised January 22, 2013

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