Animal Rights Protesters Face Higher Sentences than Racist Cross Burners

by Will Potter on September 30, 2009

in Terrorism Court Cases,Terrorism Legislation

sidewalk_chalkFour animal rights activists are facing charges under the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act for chanting, demonstrating with masks covering their faces, and chalking defamatory slogans on the sidewalk. If convicted, the “AETA 4,”—Joseph Buddenburg, Maryam Khajavi, Nathan Pope, and Adriana Stumpo—could be sentenced to 5-10 years in prison.

The AETA 4 case is a startling example of how federal terrorism laws are being used to create new crimes targeting political activists, and astronomically increase sentences for existing crimes. For instance, Marie Mason was sentenced to nearly 22 years in prison for setting fire to empty buildings and taking precautions to not harm anyone.

Meanwhile, during a Congressional hearing on the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, the Justice Department proclaimed “we are apolitical in this.” But this is anything but apolitical. Animal rights activists could receive 5-10 years in prison, as terrorists, for not harming anyone or attempting to harm anyone. Meanwhile, take a look at what some others are facing for much more serious crimes:

According to the government, high sentences for animal rights activists are intended as a deterrent, they are intended to send a message.

What kind of message do you think this sends?

Note: Funds are needed for the AETA 4 legal defense. Please make a contribution. Go to and send a donation to Or you can make a tax-deductible donation through the National Lawyers Guild Foundation. The mailing address is 132 Nassau Street, Suite 922, NY, NY 10039, please indicate AETA Defense Fund on your check.

Previous post:

Next post: