ABA Resolution to Urge Repeal of the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act Withdrawn Prior to Debate Created by on 08/22/2013
By Anne Deschamps
On August 12, the American Bar Association (ABA) House of Delegates was scheduled to vote on Resolution 116 that urged Congress to repeal the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA) and urged the Department of Justice to refrain from any further prosecutions under the AETA until it is repealed. The Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities and the New York City Bar Association argued that AETA, which was enacted in 2006 to stem the violence directed at biomedical research facilities and its researchers, infringed on an individual’s First Amendment rights. However, after concerns were raised by the Federation of American Societies of Experimental Biology (FASEB) and several other organizations in the research community, Resolution 116 was withdrawn by its sponsoring sections.
As discussed in the August 8 edition of the Washington Update, FASEB, along with the Association of American Universities, the Association of American Medical Colleges, and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, sent a letter to the chair of the ABA House of Delegates expressing concern over the potential repeal of AETA. In addition, FASEB distributed an e-action alert asking members to contact their university counsel or local ABA delegates to share their concerns.
Although Resolution 116 has been defeated for now, it is likely that a new resolution seeking to amend AETA will come up for debate at the ABA mid-year meeting in February 2014. FASEB will continue to monitor actions related to AETA.