CHICAGO — A Chicago-based appeals court says a U.S. law likening the release of farm animals by activists to terrorism is constitutional.

The 7th U.S. Court of Appeals’ decision is in the case of two Los Angeles men convicted under the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act for vandalizing an Illinois fur farm and releasing 2,000 minks. Tyler Lang and Kevin Johnson pleaded guilty but reserved rights to appeal on constitutional grounds.

The Chicago Daily Law Bulletin Monday cites their attorney as saying the statute is “an insidious harbinger” of laws meant to quash protests. He adds branding animal-rights activists “terrorists” violates due-process rights. But that ruling posted last week says Congress’ use of the word wasn’t “utterly unreasonable.”

Johnson got a three-year sentence. Lang received time served, plus six months home confinement.