Appeals Court Upholds Federal Animal Enterprise Protection Act


The First Amendment does not insulate animal rights activists from criminal liability when they use a Web site to orchestrate a campaign of harassment, cyberattacks, vandalism, and destruction of property, says a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit reported by Legal Intelligencer. A three-judge panel unanimously refused to strike down the Animal Enterprise Protection Act.

Six activists convicted of targeting an animal testing firm complained that the law had effectively criminalized their legitimate political protests. The court said the group advocated “electronic civil disobedience,” meaning “a coordinated campaign by a large number of individuals to inundate websites, e-mail servers, and the telephone service of a targeted company.” It included the use of “black faxes” — repeatedly faxing a black piece of paper to the same fax machine to exhaust the toner or ink supply.

Comments are closed.