FBI Arrests 4 Animal Activists for Leafleting, Protesting, Chalking on Sidewalk

As Will Potter said, “it was only a matter of time” before the government used the sweeping new “anti-terrorism” legislation on activists. On February 19 and 20 of 2009, the FBI arrested four young animal activists in California for organizing and attending various demonstrations against cruel animal testing, posting flyers criticizing specific professors and researchers at University of California Santa Cruz, and for chalking anti-animal-testing slogans on the sidewalk. What is their alleged crime? Using harsh language like “murder” or “torture” when describing the tests and distributing leaflets that name specific university staff who are involved in the cruel animal tests. Their charge? Animal Enterprise Terrorism. Chalking, leafleting and protesting are not acts of terrorism. These are not even crimes.

Background on AETA
Despite major criticisms from the ACLU, National Lawyers Guild, dozens of civil liberties groups and nearly every major animal rights organization, the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA) passed Congress. It is sweeping and over-broad legislation that paints effective animal activists as terrorists. The bill’s intentions are clear: scare activists from speaking out on controversial issues and protect the financial interests of so-called “Animal Enterprises”. Much like the Red Scare of the 1930′s, this new law is part of a coordinated effort to scare environmental and animal activists from controversial campaigns. It’s been dubbed the Green Scare.

Background on the UCSC campaign
Students and community members have been waging a heated campaign against animal testing in Santa Cruz. There have been legal protests like demonstrations, marches, leafletings, speaking events etc. There have also been illegal forms of protests, including some damage to university property. The university has seen many protests on its campus, and the researchers who are involved in animal testing have even seen demonstrations in their neighborhoods.

The campaign is seeing some victories and as a result the government is cracking down hard on prominent activists. This has happened many times in the past, sometimes the government has even been successful. The civil rights and anti-war movements of the 1960′s and 70′s were constantly under government surveillance. It can be intimating to think about how the government is targeting activists, but there is hope! We can and must repeal the AETA and create greater protections for free speech. Social movements have accomplished greater tasks.

For more detailed info about these recent arrests, read Will Potter’s analysis on GreenIsTheNewRed.com.


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Nicole W.
Nicole W.5 years ago

Thought this was America...we have right to free speech and assembly and to protest. Chalk and posters are not acts of terrorism.

Hannah H.
Hannah H.5 years ago

The FBI violated the Bill of Rights!

dian w.
dian w.5 years ago

Sorry - Ran out of "characters"..
In so many places, the animals do not even HAVE LAWS that protect them. IS THAT OK? HELL NO!
MAN... while they are SUPPOSED to be the "STEWARDS OF THE EARTH"... that does not mean they CAN ABUSE the POWER!!!!!
So, personally, MANKIND is the LAST person I would save... excepting small children. MAN KIND as F'd up everything!
The earth, the animals and even EACH OTHER!
THE TESTING that is done on animals.... is only DONE for ONE REASON and 1 reason only... so that the BIG CORPS will have "INSURANCE" to cover their ass!
Once Again, MANKIND is looking out for #1!
Screw anybody that gets in the way... be it animals or otherwise!
So, IF THAT IS THE GAME WE are going to play... then, FINE!
I say BRING IT! But, they wont. know why? Because they are COWARDS... WUZZIES!!! Know how I know that? Because they are already picking on the innocent! IF THEY WERE REAL MEN, they would pick on somebody their own size!
SO, I guess I will see them in HELL and I will WIN THERE TOO!
IF they are really nice to me and do not PISS ME OFF... I might even sell them some ICE water for a discount price!

dian w.
dian w.5 years ago

Here is the REAL Deal folks... like it or not... believe it or not... IT IS THE TRUTH!
You are allowed to protest as long as you are not protesting one of the BIG CORPS (that are putting money into congress, senate, white house pocket). Once you start messing with ONE OF THOSE Companies, then you are NOW a terrorist! REGARDLESS of what you are doing... peaceful or otherwise!
How many articles have I seen come through where someone was arrested for doing NOTHING other than standing on the sidewalk, holding a sign... they followed the law and even had a "permit to protest".
BOB, as far as the ALF... Previously, I would have been opposed to that group. NOT ANYMORE!
Just FYI... if i see Anyone do Anything to ANY ANIMAL, I am going to get involved. If I cannot get through their THICK HEAD in a peaceful manner, then I will do WHATEVER i HAVE TO DO... up to and including fire bomb the university or whatever else the ALF is doing. I CANNOT and WILL NOT STAND IDLY by and watch an animal (or a child or anyone else for that matter) be abused. I MUST SLEEP AT NIGHT!
Further, when it is time to meet my MAKER, I want to be telling the TRUTH when I tell him that "I DID EVERYTHING I COULD DO and I SAID EVERYTHING I COULD SAY" to stop it!
DOING NOTHING or Standly "idly by" because of a MAN MADE law makes YOU just as guilty as the person commiting the crime!
MAN Made Laws are just that... MAN MADE!

Jason J Green
Jason Green5 years ago

this is appalling!! they were doing nothing wrong so leave them alone to lawfully express their opinions on very sensitive and important topics

MeowFoul B.
MeowFoul B.5 years ago

ever herad of free speech. Un-vail the crulety!

Elinor Israel
Elinor Israel6 years ago

Bob - I'm sorry that a man was hit on the head but what about the animals that are expeimented upon withoout pain relief? What about the breeding companies that genetically alter animals to allow researchers to study genetic abnormalities like "knockout" mice (genes that are knocked out so the mice are susceptable to various diseases)? Or the rabbits who have pink eyes and allow researchers to easily see opthalmologic changes? Toxic substances are left in their eyes for days. How about the dogs that are surgically experimented on, sometimes while still conscious? How would you describe the experiments in which researchers severed cats spinal cords, sutured their eyes, forced them to endure lengthy sleep deprivation and vivesection while still alive? I would call the terrorists. The man who was hit on the head was able to file charges. These animals can only endure the pain and suffering that is forced upon them. Sorry, but my sympathies lie with the animals. In fact, I believe that animals deserve more rights than humans becasue humans have demonstrated the ability to be cruel and unjust not only to animals but to each other as well. We are supposed to be caretakers of those who are helpless and depend upon our mercy. If doing whatever I can to end the suffering of animals then feel free to call me a terrorist.

Elinor Israel
Elinor Israel6 years ago

I do not advocate physical violence against human beings but neither can I justify violence against innocent animals. Animal experimentation is beyond cruel and that is the action that deserves to be called terrorism. It figures that the word "terrorist" is used by the MURDERERS and those who TORTURE animals to refer to those who fight for the rights of the TORTURED. Terrorism has become a buzz word used to sway the masses because they know it will automatically cause fear. Chalking, leafleting and protesting are not crimes! Anything that these animal activists have done pales in comparison to what the merciless thugs in the labs are doing eveyday to innocent animals.

kindle G.
kindle G.6 years ago

use of past protest violence and the intent that might have become violent at this protest, is the laws and the arrests new foundations.
YOUR speech-not acted out, are not reason to arrest and brand activist as terrorist, BUT THIS LAW IS NOW PERMITTING JUST THAT.
the past actions of protests similar, and yet not these people directly, isn't proof of violence.
in which this piece seems to like to refer "one" protest had such such, don't assume that this meaning of one, is this ONE protest, and in fact is referring to another protest in history of past event).
now i don't remember when intent and actions were of the same in other laws before? i can intend to wash my dog today, but if no actions is taken, my dog is still dirty and not washed.. at one time i washed my dog, does that make my dog clean today?
grant you. no violence of any kind should be tolerated and there should never be human victims of protests either. but past events should be handle at that time, and todays events should be handle accordingly today. not by silencing the masses that have not yet or intended violence at this protest, as was in perhaps of protests past.

Allison J.
Past Member 6 years ago

I guess we are all entitled to an opinion.