A federal appeals court yesterday rejected a lawsuit by several animal-rights activists seeking to overturn a federal law aimed at terrorism against companies that use animals because mere fear of possible prosecution under the law is just not enough.
In its ruling, the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston said this means the e five activists have no standing to sue over the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act. Of the five, only one, a PhD candidate at MIT, is from New England.
The activists said the mere existence of the law - which outlaws not only direct physical action but the act of putting employees into fear for their lives - has hampered their First Amendment rights to do things such as work on a documentary about a foie-gras farm in Minnesota or bring rabbits into a restaurant that serves rabbit dishes.
In upholding a similar decision by a federal judge last year, the appeals court said the law has protections for First Amendment expressions and that by averring they had yet to participate in any of the activities proscribed by the law, the five could not raise constitutional questions, at least not in court.