AETA Legal Challenge in Massachusetts

Unconstitutional infringement on free speech? That’s what the lawsuit says.  At least two of the “Plaintiffs” are  former SHAC related people, and others are ARs that are not SHAC involved, but claim that their “business” efforts are “curtailed” because AETA might label them as “terrorists.” Case filed in U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts. Case No. 1:11-cv-12229.

Example of some of the Plaintiff’s Allegations:

Sarahjane Blum lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where she runs a small business with her husband. Sarahjane would like to continue her anti-foie gras work in Minnesota, which has become a significant foie gras producer, without breaking the law.  But she is limited in her ability to do so, as the AETA criminalizes campaigns like hers that could cause a foie gras farm to lose profit, or hire extra security.

Lana Lehr lives in Bethesda, Maryland.  She is a licensed psychotherapist, and has been seeing patients in private practice for over 20 years.  After adopting a rescued rabbit, Lana became interested in rabbit care and advocacy issues, eventually co-founding Rabbitwise, a public charity devoted to preventing the irresponsible acquisition and care of companion rabbits, improving retention rates of rabbits already living in homes, educating people who live with or treat rabbits to give them the best possible care, and advocating for the broader welfare of rabbits in general.  Lana used to supplement her rabbit advocacy by organizing and attending lawful, peaceful anti-fur protests in DC, but she is now afraid to attend such protests out of fear that even a lawful protest, which causes a fur store to lose money, would violate the AETA and risk prosecution as a terrorist.

J. Johnson….  J moved to New York recently, from his native Chicago, where he spent close to a decade organizing protests and educating the public as a leader in the Chicago-area SHAC campaign. Upon arriving in New York, he hoped to connect with others involved in sustainable and strategic animal rights campaigns, but has had trouble finding advocates to work with, due to a chill throughout the animal rights community as whole, based on the targeting of that community as would-be terrorists under the AETA.

Ryan Shapiro lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he is completing a PhD at MIT. Ryan wishes to further utilize his expertise to document and expose animal exploitation and abuse on factory farms.  He is chilled from engaging in this important work, however, because documenting and distributing evidence of animal exploitation and abuse risks prosecution as a terrorist under the AETA.    AETA Blum v Holder Complaint

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