Legislation targeting animal rights extremists is on its way to the President's desk. Congressman Tom Petri (R-WI) was a sponsor of the measure approved Monday in the US House. The bill is designed to deter people who go beyond simply expressing their views on animal rights, and move on to using physical violence to coerce researchers or farmers. It gives federal authorities the ability to investigate and prosecute groups and individuals who try to stop animal exploitation through force. Petri says such cases come up more often than many people realize, with at least 1,000 incidents in just the past year.
The Wisconsin Republican says the legislation does include protections for First Amendment rights. Petri says they worked with groups such as the ACLU to make sure protestors can still demonstrate. President Bush is expected to sign the legislation.