Animal Rights Activists Are Terrorists?

Animal rights activists are labeled as “terrorists” on a website run by the Canadian Federal Government.

The website is part of a training program for FINTRAC, a government agency responsible for monitoring financial transactions to ensure they aren’t being used for illegal activities such as terrorism or money-laundering. The training program was created to train employees of foreign agencies similar to FINTRAC.

The training program consists of workshops followed by an online test that includes the question: “Under which terrorist group do animal rights activists and environmental extremists fall?” The answer according to the website is single-issue terrorists.

It is true that the online test may not hold the same weight as say, a law defining nearly all animal rights activism as terrorism, such as we have in the US. And while the agency could make the point that they were simply trying to find an appropriate example that would clearly represent a very specific single-issue campaign, it remains utterly unforgivable to flippantly use terms like “terrorist” to describe any group with unpopular or fringe beliefs.

In a post 9/11 culture, the word “terrorist” is used all over the world to create the same kind of jingoistic, fear-driven climate that America experienced in the 1940s and 1950s when Joseph McCarthy was hunting for communists. Back then anyone that didn’t like the status quo was labelled as a communist to invalidate their ideas and establish them as an enemy. Nowadays the establishment is quick to call a person or a group “terrorists” even if those people are working for peace within the bounds of their constitutional rights.

The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act was passed in 2006 and was used in 2009 to bring charges against four activists in California for leafletting, writing chalk on the streets, protesting and publishing information that was publicly available on the internet. The charges against those activists were eventually thrown out by a judge who had the common sense to see that all of their activities were constitutionally protected free speech. The four activists were guilty of nothing more than trying to make social change and were labeled as terrorists.

When governments and conservative groups use words like terrorist, they are trying to capitalize on a stigma and invalidate an idea without ever having to disprove it. If they can successfully brand animal rights activists as terrorists, then invalidating their actual beliefs becomes unnecessary, because who wants to sympathize or be associated with terrorists?

We cannot continue to throw around words like terrorist around carelessly to describe anyone who has beliefs we dislike. It is not only inaccurate, it is irresponsible. And it is especially egregious, especially irresponsible, and especially inaccurate when those who are being accused of terrorism are activists who engage in legal protests for the sole purpose of ending violence against animals.


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Duane B.
.6 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

James Campbell
James Campbell7 years ago

“The training program was created to train employees of foreign agencies”
And to show foreign agencies how semantically challenged some of those employed by the Canadian government are. The misuse of such emotionally charged words is on the increase. Note how many times the word ‘Fascist’ is used to define someone with whose politics the accuser disagrees. Hitler & Mussolini were Fascists whose motivation was world domination. Al Qaeda is a terrorist organisation whose motivation is world domination. In-Contrast the motivation of Animal rights activists is to end the world domination of human greed and cruelty that targets helpless non-humans. Using the word ‘terrorist’ in such a careless way benefits real terrorists as it gives them a softer profile.

Ellen M.
Ellen M7 years ago

There is a MAJOR difference between animal WELFARE and animal RIGHTS groups. while it is true that just caring about something does not make anyone a terrorist, the AR groups are well known for their fanatical drive to end all animal usage whether it be for food, companion pets, service animals (including police dogs, drug sniffing, blind and other handicaped people helpers). I do understand that many groups do 'good' for animals in general but when they bring their view point to my pets I get angry and wish there was more I could do to show the public. if anyone researches the biggest AR hype group HSUS they will find how much they lie to the public. Animal care does need to be looked at and, if necessary, charge the abuser with animal cruelty. it is not a 'good thing' to wipe out all animal usage! for the most part, I advocate to any and all who listen to donate time, labor, and/or money to your LOCAL shelters. they need it!

Jeanne B.
Jeanne B7 years ago

I don't hurt animals willingly and thus don't eat them. I don't do this to humans either. I stand up for the rights of all sentient beings. I'm a terrorist then...

Carrie Anne Brown

thanks for sharing

Esther Harvey
Esther Harvey7 years ago

I believe people who are abuse and or kill animals are the real terrorists. Joining the list of terrorists are polilticians and their likes who refuse implement measures to protect animals and or allow the animals terrorists to go free after committing their sickly acts. These sick people go to tell the courts (for those who get there) that it was temporary insanity but after they commit their acts their sanity returns. Right!

Cornelius McHugh
Cornelius McHugh7 years ago

And just like politicians and industrialists can be.

Ruth Leavitt
Ruth Leavitt7 years ago

I dislike articles like this, because it tries to take a side.
Animal Rights Activisits - can - be terrorists. Just like PETA can be, just like Human Rights people can be, and just like Environmental Extremists can be.
I notice nobody is defending their inclusion in the same question. Is it because of the 'extremist' qualification?
Anyone can be extremist. Including Animal Rights People.
Are all of them? No.
Can any of them be? Easily.
Anyone can be a terrorist. An ideology does not make someone a terrorist. Their actions do.

Anastasia Z.
Anastasia Z7 years ago

Thank you for paying attention on this important issue!

SeattleAnn S.
Ann S7 years ago

I used to think Canada was a more progressive and upright neighbor than us. Lately, I've been thinking their officials are nothing more than barbarians.