Animal Law Symposium: Activism or Terrorism?

16 Apr 2015

Animal Law Symposium: Activism or Terrorism?


Chase Center

Chase Auditorium

Please join us Thursday, April 16 in Chase at 6:00 pm for the animal law symposium! Three speakers will weigh in on the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, followed by a Q+A. FOOD & DRINKS will be provided.



What is the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act?

Passed by Congress in November 2006, the AETA is a federal law that criminalizes First Amendment-protected activities including protests, boycotts, picketing and whistle-blowing, which affect the bottom lines of companies that exploit animals.  Although the AETA is drafted so broadly as to prohibit many different types of activism, not just that undertaken to advance animal rights, the law has only been used against the animal rights community.  The law carries penalties of fines and prison sentences of up to twenty years.


Has anyone been prosecuted?

YES.  In U.S. v. Fullmer, six individuals (including one of our speakers, Lauren Gazzola) and a nonprofit were indicted under the AETA's predecessor. All six individuals were sentenced to federal prison and served sentences of up to six years.  The individuals are also required to pay over $1 million in restitution.  In U.S. v. Buddenburg, four individuals were indicted for protesting, chanting, chalking sidewalks, conducting research on the internet, and leafleting.  Two activists are currently charged with terrorism for allegedly releasing mink and foxes from fur farms in the Midwest. 


Who is speaking?

Lauren Gazzola is an animal activist who was convicted for her role in a grassroots animal rights campaign dedicated to exposing and ending animal testing at a notorious laboratory, Huntingdon Life Sciences.  Lauren served 40 months in federal prison for her work on the campaign.  Since her release, Lauren has challenged the constitutionality of the Act.  Lauren currently works for the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York.

Odette Wilkens is a New York attorney and the Executive Director or the Equal Justice Alliance, an organization dedicated to repealing the AETA.  To that end, Odette coordinates social justice activists and law students to engage in organized repeal efforts, files amicus briefs when individuals are prosecuted under the Act, and educates others about the ways in which the AETA violates the First Amendment of the Constitution.

Bobby Vassar was the lead staff person on the Democratic side for the House legislative effort on the 2006 AETA amendments.  In this role, Bobby worked with House and Senate Republican lead staffers, Democratic staff, and outside groups and interested individuals, on the development of the bill that eventually became law.  Bobby provides an insider's perspective on the development of the AETA, and on the Congressional legislative process in general.


Moderated by Prof. Teachout



Presented by the Animal Law Society

Questions? Concerns? Contact Michael Pottetti at