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Is Animal Liberation Love or Terrorism? Feds Say Terrorism

Is Animal Liberation Love or Terrorism? Feds Say Terrorism

Saving a life is usually a selfless act of heroism, unless that life is an animal’s life — then it’s sometimes consideredáterrorism.

While ag-gag laws have been in the forefront of animal activism, the arrests and indictments of two animal activists puts the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA) — an act where helping animals boils down to domestic terrorism — on the map again.

Animal Activists Become Terrorists

As reported in The Blaze, earlier this month, two concerned animal activists were federally indicted by a grand jury.

What was their heinous crime?

Allegedly setting 2,000 minks stuck in an Illinois fur farm free, in August 2013. In the eyes of the law, this act translates to conspiracy and interfering with animal enterprise. As theáLos Angeles Times reports, the two California men in their late twenties are looking at five years in prison and a whopping $250,000 fine if they are convicted.

Feds claimed that Tyler Lang and Kevin Johnson (who also goes by the name Kevin Oliff) also made the intentional drive through Iowa, Missouri and Illinois to damage private property — a fur farm where minks were bred, raised and sold to manufacturers . In the process of freeing the captive animals, Lang and Johnson allegedly damaged the farm’s fence so the animals could escape. They are also accused of devastating the paint on a pair of the farm’s vehicles and vandalizing the barn by painting “Liberation is Love.” Prosecutors claim that Lang and Johnson also had plans to go to a neighboring fox farm.

Not surprisingly, Fur Commission USA, an organization devoted to protecting the interests of mink farmers since 1994, is delighted by this indictment. The organization’s executive director, Michael Whelan, expressed that, “It is tragic, that not only are hard working farm families left to start over, but these na´ve, misguided young men now face felonies and years behind bars. I just hope that those that preach animal rights extremism and promote these acts, someday learn what they do to people’s lives.”

Whelan also points out how the animals also lost in this tragedy. For most of the minks, freedom was short-lived. Exposure to the elements, dehydration, hungry predators and passing vehicles killed most of the animals.

For supporters of Fur Commission USA, protection laws are set in place to protect against (mis)condut — trespassing, getting official records, getting a job undercover to harm the farm. Farm protection laws don’t have to have to do with freedom of speech rights.

Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act

Many animal activists think that AETA has everything to do with freedom of speech. The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) explains that AETA was passed by Congress and signed by President Bush in 2006. The Act replaced the 1992 Animal Enterprise Protection Act (AEPA) — a law that was backed by animal exploiting industries. According to CCR, AETA “silences the peaceful and lawful protest activities of animal and environmental advocates.”

One Truth-Out author and animal activist explains that she lives in fear for speaking out about animal suffering. The more that she does, the more likely that she’ll face jail time.

Despite AETA’s claim that it won’t affect average citizens exercising their constitutional rights, activists aren’t convinced. If laws on every scale of government exist to deal with issues of vandalism, threats and harassment, then what’s the need for AETA? For animal activists, AETA is a legal way to turn nonviolent civil disobedience into terrorism and to punish those who speak for those beings with no voice.

Voiceless Animals at Fur Farms

If animal activists are silenced, then no one will be able to speak for the animals trapped in fur farms. Despite modern luxuries that keep us warm, the (totally unnecessary) fur industry has no plans of slowing down. Fur Commission USA boasts that the fur industry is worth as much as Wi-Fi with profits exceeding $40 billion.

According to PETA, here are a few of the costs to fur farm animals that created those $40 billion profits (where 85 percent of the skins come from fur farms) :

  • Animals living in cramped, dark and unsanitary spaces.
  • Animals going insane, similar to zoochosis, where they will self-mutilate, eat their cage mates and neurotically pace.
  • Animals subjected to harsh elements year-round, eating a diet that is unfit for consumption, dehydration and parasitic diseases.
  • Animals can have their necks broken, be skinned alive, electrocuted (even electrocuted at their genitals) or poisoned. This is all perfectly legal, too. There are laws protecting property against vandalization, but there are no laws protecting fur animals against mutilation.

The exploitation and atrocities get worse. The stinging point is that 50 million animals die for vanity. Lang and Johnson weren’t 100 percent correct in their actions, but I think that their motives were beyond vanity. Condemning activists as terrorists and exploiting 50 million fur animals feels a lot more criminal — too bad the law says otherwise.

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Photo Credit: Dzivnieku Briviba

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6:24AM PDT on Oct 28, 2014

I don't agree with fur farming but releasing mink into the wild is crazy - some people did this in the UK in the past and they are decimating the endangered water vole population now. Sadly most people like these "activists" don't seem to think through any of their actions and just wreak havoc on animals they claim to love.

8:39PM PDT on Aug 22, 2014

As it was said, to save lives, if it's human lives, it's heroism. But when it's animal's considered terrorism. Time to change it!

1:41AM PDT on Aug 5, 2014

Of course Diane L would be the first one to defend the "rights" of the concentration camp guards at Auschwitz if she was born a German.

Diane L. The only fate those fur farmer criminal sadists require is bankruptcy or hard jail time.. I would do everything in my power to get them penniless, and to top that off, I want to throw them homeless into one of those nice US drug neighborhoods. Hopefully they will wander into some alley never to be seen again. You are actually supporting terrorists who hide behind a criminal government. Terrorists can say they are "business people" and that's exactly what the fur mafia is.

1:31AM PDT on Aug 5, 2014

With not too many exceptions, the Federal government are themselves terrorists, committing atrocities and vicious crimes daily. They label others what they themselves are. The Federal government will do any crime they can conceive of for profit and the profits of their criminal corporations that bribe them and to hell with the public.

1:46PM PDT on Aug 3, 2014

I totally support animal liberation, when you have a well thought out plan for what you are going to do with the rescued animals or birds, but only a total lunatic would release an agressive preditor such as mink into the enviroment where they have bred already from previous liberations and totally decimated the wildlife. Nothing is safe. They eat ducklings, water voles, frogs, rare natajak toads, newts, doormice and anything they can find. Breeding animals for their fur, food or laboratory tools is unforgivable and I applaud those who rescue and find them homes, But to release mink into the wild kills thousands, perhaps millions, more than the few relleased. (Former Assistand General Secretary of BUAV)

1:40AM PDT on Aug 1, 2014

I would like to thank all Care2 members who already signed my petition.
if no, please help give an happy end to that sad story :
1) Care 2

But unfortunately this is still not the end of the sufferings for those animals. This Monday 28th july a stray horse was hit by a car and was euthanized due to an open fracture. link : Tribuna de Petropolis
As some people of the city and from the neighborhoods, took them to a sanctuary*, the hope is rising, it's up to you to make it grow by still sharing the petitions. I will tell you more about the sanctuary in the next update...

Thank you for caring

2:04PM PDT on Jul 31, 2014

The minks had a small piece if freedom. Then most likely death. If the minks had been 'wild' before being put into cages...they might have had a chance.

Some people have no clue that other life forms feel and have pain too. Us humans are 'getting it'..sure hope they 'get it' sooner.

1:26PM PDT on Jul 30, 2014

Diane L, I am sorry but you sound as fanatical or confused rather as those you claim to despise/oppose. Animal liberation is inevitable. They did not free cattle or elephants. Mink can re-adjust to the wild and shall in the future as this happens again. Take a chill pill please?

4:51PM PDT on Jul 29, 2014

The foxes and mink on fur farms are usually killed by anal electrocution. I hardly shed a tear for the "hard working farm families" who have to start all over, collecting animals to sadistically kill for something as trivial as a fur coat.

4:31PM PDT on Jul 29, 2014

I am going to say this once and for all. Mink deserve freedom. All beings do. If someone is abusing/enslaving/exploiting animals, they are asking for "trouble". SO be it

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