Boston judge tosses animal rights suit


BOSTON (AP) -- A judge in Boston has thrown out a lawsuit challenging a 2006 federal law animal rights activists say violates their free speech rights.

U.S. District Judge Joseph Tauro dismissed a challenge brought by five people who said the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act made them afraid to participate in public protests because it prohibits anyone from intentionally causing the loss of personal property of animal-related businesses or laboratories.

Some activists think personal property can include a loss of profits, meaning that a fur protester who persuades a consumer not to shop at a particular store could be prosecuted under the law.

Tauro ruled Monday that the protesters failed to show "an objectively reasonable chill on their First Amendment rights."

He granted a request by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to dismiss the lawsuit.


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