Making the world safer

When Dianne Feinstein starts wading in the partisan political waters, she as icky as the next politician. When she puts her head down and does her job, I often like her:

Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California proposed legislation Friday to crack down on animal rights activists who make threats or commit violence against people engaged in research using animals.

The bill, which the Democrat introduced with Republican Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma, would toughen federal criminal penalties for causing physical harm to people or making threats to researchers or their families. It would also boost penalties for causing economic harm to companies or universities engaged in research using animals that are frequently destroyed in the course of lab work.

Proposed penalties in the bill, which is a modification of legislation Inhofe had previously offered, include life in prison for incidents in which someone is killed.

It’s unlikely the measure will reach the Senate floor this year, with just about a month left before Congress expects to recess for the fall campaign.

The killing of animals for research, along with nonlethal practices that activists say amount to animal torture, has spurred some to violence, including an August 2003 bombing outside the Emeryville laboratories of Chiron Corp., another bombing a month later at Shaklee Corp. in Pleasanton, ongoing threats against UCSF researchers and the firebombing this year of the home of a UCLA researcher.

“The deplorable actions of these eco-terrorists threaten to impede important medical progress in California and across the country,” Feinstein said in a statement Friday.

I hope this bill passes.  I strongly believe in treating animals humanely, and have had pets all my life (including a particularly loveable little dog right now), but I still recognize that they’re not people.  The eco-terrorists, who will cheerfully bomb a human being to save a chicken, have such perverse values they need to be reined in.

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  • http://ymarsakar.blogspot.com/ Ymarsakar

    Domestic Terrorism, such a bother. But no state sponsors them, so they are a nuissance and a criminal activity at best.

    Islamic Jihad, if they were more cosmopolitan, could benefit much from co-opting domestic terrorist organizations that are already inside the US. Ideology, however, is self-limiting in some circumstances.

  • http://ageofbs.wordpress.com/ J

    “When she puts her head down and does her job, I often like her”

    I’m a lot surprised and a little disappointed.

    I agree with the spirit of the post though.

  • http://OgBlog.net Earl

    Hard as it is to choke out when speaking of “la Feinstein”:

    Good for her! I hope she can get it passed.

  • jg

    J. writes:
    ‘I’m a lot surprised and a little disappointed.’

    Bookworm will surely know the female officeholder better than those of us outside California.
    Yet I still remember the grave judiciousness with which Feinstein delivered her verdict on the possible impeachment of Bill C. She had put on quite an extended consideration, all, we were assured, in the name of a fair and impartial judgment. And she found Bill not guilty of lying.
    She abused us.

    I found her completely guilty of misusing her high office for partisan purposes. And a openly flagrant dishonesty.

  • http://bookwormroom.wordpress.com/ Bookworm

    My problem with Feinstein is that I know her. I went to school with her kids and stepkids, and saw a lot of her growing up. She’s a bright, competent woman who sometimes gets it — as she did with this challenge against animal rights terrorists. I don’t excuse her bad conduct in the name of partisanship; I’m just willing to acknowledge when she does something right. And after all, she’s better than Barbara Boxer.

  • Ymarsakar

    Don’t you mean your advantage?

    Feinstein sounds like “Feingold”… not a very pleasant reminder.

  • momacat

    The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA) is a bill that, if passed, could make it a crime to cause any business classified as an “animal enterprise” (e.g., factory farms, fur farms, vivisection labs, rodeos and circuses) to suffer a profit loss — even if the company’s financial decline is caused by peaceful protests.

    Outlawing non-violent activist tactics that don’t physically hurt anyone and defining them as “terrorism” is a completely unacceptable violation of our constitutionally-granted First Amendment rights to freedom of speech as Americans.

  • Menkit

    It’s obvious that none of you have sat down and watched an animal being vivisected – or even read about the millions of animals who are experimented on cruelly and with total disregard for their welbeing just so some scientist gets on the gravy train. Same with animal agriculture – the whole system is so open to abuse. Anyone with a heart would understand why animal rights activists risk their lives and freedom to help save animals. Until people wake up and recognise that animals do indeed have feelings just like us and are worthy of consideration, there will be no end to it. This bill is making the compassionate ones the terrorists when in fact it is the animal abusers who are the real terrorists.

  • http://bookwormroom.wordpress.com/ Bookworm

    I’m all for criminalizing intentional abuse, undue cruelty, or carelessness. The kind of blanket prohibition animal rights activists seek, and the violence they often visit on humans in the name of protecting animals, is unacceptable. And I say this as someone who has always doted on her animals, but never stopped being aware that they are not humans.