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Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act
December 21, 2011 1:26 PM   Subscribe

The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) has launched a legal challenge to the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA), which prohibits activists from engaging in conduct "for the purpose of damaging or interfering with the operations of an animal enterprise."

WSJ 2011 : Mens Rea takes hit from the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act

TruthOut 2011 : Activists Silenced by Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act File Lawsuit

AlterNet 2009 : The Most Dangerous Domestic Terror Law You've Never Heard Of

There is more informative commentary on AETA (pdf) at CCR, GreenIsTheNewRed, and a 2007 FPP.

Recall that Upton Sinclair created an uproar when he published his novel The Jungle in 1906, leading to the passage of Meat Inspection Act and Pure Food and Drug Act a few months later.
posted by jeffburdges (29 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
First they came for the animals, and I did not speak out, because ... wait ... wait a sec ...
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 1:37 PM on December 21, 2011


So exposing illegal and unsanitary conditions in a food facility is called "terrorism" now? Wow, that word gets get more vague by the day.
posted by Liquidwolf at 1:44 PM on December 21, 2011 [11 favorites]


I suppose Michael Vick should've pressed charges against somebody.
posted by jeffburdges at 1:46 PM on December 21, 2011


It looks like chanting TERRORISM is a good way to get stuff you disagree with shut down these days, if you are a major industry at least.
posted by Dr Dracator at 1:49 PM on December 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh Lord, stuck in LOM-POC a-gain.
posted by BrotherCaine at 1:50 PM on December 21, 2011


When I see stuff like this, I get mad at those wretched food companies and think

Eat shit and die

is what animals, cows, pigs, chickens in slaughterhouses do every day. And then they are sold to us for consumption in neat cellophane plastic wrapped packaging.
posted by jabberjaw at 1:51 PM on December 21, 2011


Gosh, who could have predicted the definition of terrorism would eventually be expanded so much as to be meaningless?
posted by entropicamericana at 1:59 PM on December 21, 2011 [17 favorites]


The war on terror will not be won until we're all terrorists.

Victory is within our grasp, America!
posted by Naberius at 2:05 PM on December 21, 2011


Gosh, who could have predicted the definition of terrorism would eventually be expanded so much as to be meaningless?

Certainly not the supporters of a bill allowing indefinite detention of anyone called a terrorist!!
posted by tyllwin at 2:05 PM on December 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Also, see So... You've Been Idefinitely Detained!
posted by Naberius at 2:07 PM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I find myself in a bind. I oppose any law that restricts speech, this one included.

On the other hand, the people the Truth Out website talks about being arrested fall pretty far down on my list of worthwhile human beings. The people protesting Huntingdon (the article gets the name wrong), well, read the Guardian's account of SHAC's activities in England. They mellowed out a little in the US, but from what I understand, they set up an equivalent of The Nuremberg Files website. Others were charged with harassment.

So the articles lose some of their impact because these are truly horrible human beings.

On the other hand, power creep is a scary thing. And the Nazis have just as much of a right to march down main street as anyone else, as much as I think they are scum. The bit about harming profit truly sends shivers down my bones. And there are already laws to protect people from stalking, death threats, vandalism, receiving biohazards, libel (although difficult in the US), etc.

I have little time for protesters who target research institutes, which is what these people tend to do. I have yet to see a large release of animals from a factory farm, which would be glorious.

Then again people are scum.

tl;dr: Bad laws passed to stop bad people harm good people and should be struck down. When death threats are made, fake bombs are planted, people stalked and harassed, by all means, lock these people up before they escalate even further. But allow them to speak.
posted by Hactar at 2:19 PM on December 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's still legal to harass and intimidate abortion clinic workers and women seeking to enter them, though, right?
posted by diane47 at 2:21 PM on December 21, 2011 [11 favorites]


Hactar, I completely agree. Power creep is really pissing me off.
posted by rebent at 2:41 PM on December 21, 2011


CFE
Common Farming Exemptions make legal any method of raising farmed animals so long as it is commonly practiced within the industry. In other words, farmers—corporations is the right word—have the power to define cruelty. If the industry adopts a practice‐hacking off unwanted appendages with no painkillers, for example, but you can let your imagination run with this—it automatically becomes legal.
CFEs are enacted state by state and range from the disturbing to the absurd. Take Nevada. Under its CFE, the state's welfare laws cannot be enforced to "prohibit or interfere with established methods of animal husbandry, including the raising, handling, feeding, housing, and transporting, of livestock or farm animals." What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.
Lawyers David Wolfson* and Mariann Sullivan*, experts on the issue, explain:
Certain states exempt specific practices, rather than all customary farming practices....Ohio exempts farmed animals from the requirements for "wholesome exercise and a change of air," and Vermont exempts farmed animals from the section in its criminal anticruelty statute that deems it illegal to "tie, tether and restrain" an animal in a manner that is "inhumane or detrimental to its welfare." One cannot help but assume that in Ohio farmed animals are denied exercise and air, and that in Vermont they are tied, tethered or restrained in a manner that is inhumane.
- p50-51 Eating Animals, Jonathan Safran Foer*
*alleged terrorists
posted by odinsdream at 2:47 PM on December 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Hey, here I come to make a bacon joke! I made a whole jacket out of bacon! LOL! - An Asshole
posted by tumid dahlia at 2:54 PM on December 21, 2011


And then they are sold to us for consumption in neat cellophane plastic wrapped packaging.

All of my meat comes in pails of blood.
posted by IvoShandor at 3:03 PM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


There are only two SHAC members listed on Blum vs. Holder, Hactar, while two other plaintiffs run gourmetcruelty.com and another rabbitwise.org.

I love foie gras, and I hope they never outlaw it, but these three are not targeting scientists like you claimed.  And I'd come down on HLS side too, except they don't sound like "good people" either. <shrug>
posted by jeffburdges at 3:08 PM on December 21, 2011


"the bill passed both chambers with fewer than 10 members voting in total, out of a possible 535"

This system is working like a goddamn top. On the plus side, it's unlikely my state representatives voted to restrict my rights. On the downside, 9 morons apparently can.
posted by yerfatma at 3:17 PM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't care if they're good people or not. They are not terrorists. Calling them so only continues a slide towards a state where any prohibited action is subject to punishment that is the state's whim of the moment. A state governed by laws draws a sharp line between people who attempt to kill mass numbers of citizens through overt violence and those who do not.
posted by tyllwin at 3:43 PM on December 21, 2011



On the other hand, the people the Truth Out website talks about being arrested fall pretty far down on my list of worthwhile human beings.


Yeah, what type of person could be more despicable than an animal rights activist?
posted by Liquidwolf at 4:11 PM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


change you can deceive within
posted by Fupped Duck at 4:25 PM on December 21, 2011



Yeah, what type of person could be more despicable than an animal rights activist?


I know, right ?
The explosive failed to detonate, according to today’s Los Angeles Times. The incident resembles one last summer, in which activists claimed to have tried to bomb the residence of another researcher at the University of California at Los Angeles. That explosive also failed to blow up, and it was left at the wrong house in any event.
My wife was assaulted by some of these douchebags outside of her workplace a few years ago - it was the incident that prompted the university to assign a cop to that building, all day, every day. She (and others) had her bike tire slashed outside the building a couple dozen times since then as well.

I'm not too pleased about these extended rights being taken by the government, but on the other hand the rights activists could have, you know, not tried to kill people.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 5:35 PM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


There is no other hand because AETA won't be applied when ordinary harassment statutes apply, Pogo_Fuzzybutt.

You know, Upton Sinclair originally wrote The Jungle to expose working conditions in the meat packing industry, but people actually demanded reforms to the industry's poor quality standards, not worker's rights.

I'm perfectly fine with PETA video taping famers force feeding ducks because they've little chance for outlawing foie gras but good chances for exposing lax food safety. I presume AETA exists primarily to protect producers who violate food safety rules.

In universities, any animal research has already been documented well in advance and undergone an external ethical evaluation, enough so that ordinary people won't care. Animal rights activists have no tactics left but harassing individuals. HLS didn't play by the university rules.
posted by jeffburdges at 7:06 PM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm not too pleased about these extended rights being taken by the government, but on the other hand the rights activists could have, you know, not tried to kill people.

Since trying to kill people is already illegal, and the vast majority of animal rights activists have not tried to kill anyone, your complaints ring exceptionally hollow.
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 1:17 AM on December 22, 2011


Ditto Philosopher Dirtbike. The people making real strides here (think groups like Mercy for Animals or Compassion Over Killing) are not threatening people.
posted by tr33hggr at 7:23 AM on December 22, 2011


Welcome to Corporate Amerika where compassion is the new terrorism.
posted by chance at 10:30 PM on December 23, 2011


There are only two SHAC members listed on Blum vs. Holder, Hactar, while two other plaintiffs run gourmetcruelty.com and another rabbitwise.org.

There's more on one of those SHAC members here: Are Animal Rights Activists Terrorists? Activists challenge a federal law that defines a broad range of actions against the animal industry as "terrorism."
posted by homunculus at 11:53 PM on December 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


In other news: FDA Withdraws Proposal To Limit Livestock Antibiotic Use, Raising Public Health Concerns
posted by homunculus at 5:57 PM on December 24, 2011 [1 favorite]



This is troubling. Hope it's nothing.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 12:16 PM on January 10, 2012


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