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.

Photo Credit: Dzivnieku Briviba

190 comments

Adnan Osmanovic
Adnan Osmanovic8 months ago

Christine has totally right ... and










































































Christine has totally right... and in my opinion, the World would bee much better place that "man left on a tree"...

Adnan Osmanovic
Adnan Osmanovic8 months ago

It\'s disgusting that people still buy fur in this day and age. What is wrong with them?

Although these activists clearly didn\'t think through their actions, at least their hearts were in the right place.

We had a similar situation here when activists filmed barbaric live baiting in the greyhound racing industry, where rabbits, piglets, possums with babies, cats, etc, were used in the most disgusting cruelty, far too horrific to go into detail here. Instead of being feted as heroes, the activists were accused of invasion of privacy, trespassing, using commercial information without consent, and all manner of trumped-up charges. Luckily our community was outraged and supported them.

Christine Jones
Christine J8 months ago

It's disgusting that people still buy fur in this day and age. What is wrong with them?

Although these activists clearly didn't think through their actions, at least their hearts were in the right place.

We had a similar situation here when activists filmed barbaric live baiting in the greyhound racing industry, where rabbits, piglets, possums with babies, cats, etc, were used in the most disgusting cruelty, far too horrific to go into detail here. Instead of being feted as heroes, the activists were accused of invasion of privacy, trespassing, using commercial information without consent, and all manner of trumped-up charges. Luckily our community was outraged and supported them.

Tony Lyons
Away Labout a year ago

Whilst big business is allowed to profit out of nature through inhumane means it is difficult to imagine major changes. More regulation on animal rights is needed.

Adnan Osmanovic
Adnan Osmanovicabout a year ago

I agree with you Amy, and I just want to said that man created this "imbalance" of animals species, and I'm afraid that it's to late to correct it...

Amy Thompson
Amy Thompsonabout a year ago

The conditions at these fur farms are horrific. As well intended as these activists are, releasing animals who've only known a caged life accomplishes nothing but making a statement. They can't survive in the wild, and suffer a slow death. As much as I despise fur farming, they only way to make a true impact is to change the laws.
And, this is in no way comparable to terrorism!!

Adnan Osmanovic
Adnan Osmanovicabout a year ago

All kinds of animals and plants were created with a reason ( by who, I don't know), and that is the Circle of life on planet Earth. Than, man was created (by who, I don't know, and because of greed he began to ruin the Circle...

Jim Ven
Jim Venabout a year ago

thanks for the article.

Jon T.
Jon T2 years ago

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.

Virginia Abreu de Paula

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