If they plan like terrorists, talk like terrorists and act like terrorists—shouldn’t they be treated like terrorists? Yet animal activists want to have their civil rights, and flaunt them, too.
The FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force has kept files on activists who expose animal welfare abuses on factory farms and recommended prosecuting them as terrorists, according to a new document uncovered through the Freedom of Information Act request.
Earlier this month, the Center for Constitutional Rights filed suit challenging the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, which allows prosecution of activists who trespass on and vandalize meat plants and livestock facilities as terrorists, as unconstitutional. Why? Because its “vague wording” has had a chilling effect on political activism.
At least that’s the view of the animal rights activists and factory farm opponents.
Since 2003, four years before the AETA was passed by Congress, the FBI had kept files detailing the activities of several animal rights activists who went undercover to document alleged animal welfare violations. According to a report by OpEdNews.com, the FBI special agent who authored the report said they “illegally entered buildings” owned by a producer, videotaped the premises and removed several animals from the farm.
That action caused “economic loss” to the businesses, the FBI said. The apologists within the animal rights community tried to paint such violations as “acts of non-violent civil disobedience,” since the perpetrators distributed press releases and conducted media interviews taking responsibility for their actions.
Now, they’re outraged that the FBI has files on those who would commit such actions.
Depends on the definition of rescue
“It is deeply sobering to see one’s name in an FBI file proposing terrorism charges,” Ryan Shapiro, one of the activists charged with trespassing and unauthorized videotaping, said in an email to officials at the Center for Constitutional Rights. “It is even more sobering to realize the supposedly terroristic activities in question are merely exposing the horrific cruelty of factory farms, educating the public about what goes on behind those closed doors, and openly rescuing a few animals from one of those farms as an act of civil disobedience.”
Rescue or theft? That’s the question. One man’s liberation is another man’s loss of property.
Whatever label you wish to use, the point here is inescapable: The supposedly non-violent actions that opponents of animal agriculture take in capturing and removing farm animals is a violation of the law. Always has been. All that the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act does is allow prosecution of the offenders as terrorists, rather than as common thieves.