Green Scare: How Animal Rights Activists Are Being Branded 'Agro-Terrorists'

from the give-a-dog-a-bad-name dept

As Mike wrote just under a year ago, so-called “ag-gag” laws are being passed in a number of US states. Idaho has just joined the club:

Idaho’s governor has signed a bill into law that makes it illegal for undercover investigators and whistleblowers to expose animal cruelty on factory farms and slaughterhouses.

The bill, SB1337, was backed by the state’s billion-dollar dairy industry after Mercy For Animals exposed dairy workers beating, kicking, and sexually abusing dairy cows. Under this new law, the whistleblowers who exposed the cruelty face criminal penalties worse than those who committed the abuse.

As Mike also noted in his post last year, the standard rationale for bringing in this legislation, which conveniently makes it hard for animal cruelty in factory farms to be documented by activists, is “terrorism” — specifically “agro-terrorism”. That’s also the case in Idaho:

During a hearing before the Idaho Senate last Friday, Senator Steve Blair said: “I learned a new term when doing this research. It’s called agro-terrorism… A lot of it happened very recently.”

Blair read from the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act. But what he didn’t mention is that this term he learned, and its counterpart “eco-terrorism,” were made up by the industry itself.

Both of the quotations above come from posts on, which describes itself as follows:

This website focuses on how fear of “terrorism” is being exploited to push a political and corporate agenda. Specifically, I focus on how animal rights and environmental advocates are being branded “eco-terrorists” in what many are calling the Green Scare.

When an entire website can be devoted to this phenomenon, it’s clear that this is no occasional rhetorical trick but part of a concerted campaign to stigmatize all kinds of legitimate dissent that happens to be inconvenient for powerful industry groups. Expect to see much more of it.

Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter or, and +glynmoody on Google+

Filed Under: , ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Green Scare: How Animal Rights Activists Are Being Branded 'Agro-Terrorists'”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Ninja (profile) says:

I wonder if they’ll blame such eco-terrorists when climate change causes them enough lossses.

As for the animal cruelty thing it’s much like all the Govt abuse that we are seeing lately. Unless a whole shitload of people don’t go protesting prepared for blood things will not change. I’d say we’ll need to see blood spilled on both sides of the ‘power chain’ before things start getting fixed.

Chris Brand says:

Re: Re:

No, they’ll be able to sue the governments under ISDS for not enacting laws to prevent climate change, because they lost profits as a result.

Of course any governments that do enact laws to stop climate change had better make sure than no corporations lose profits as a result, too.

Because corporate profit is more important than a planet that humans can live on.

btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I honestly don’t see how these laws could possibly survive a 1st Amendment challenge.

If the greenies are trespassing to get the video and other proof, then go ahead and charge them with that. If they have any actual courage of their convictions, they’re likely prepared to face such charges and are willing to take the punishment for it. But to make just talking about what they found a crime in and of itself (with a much more significant penalty than mere trespassing) is a bright-line violation of the 1st Amendment.

Anonymous Coward says:

Guess these people are terrorists to

I guess we know now what the correct term for what Snowden is. He’s not a traitor, he’s a terrorist!

And that guy who shot the 47% video of Mitt Romney in the last presidential election, that guy’s a terrorist to!

And Upton Sinclair, who wrote ‘The Jungle’, which exposed a lot of unsanitary practices in the meat industry to millions of Americans? He wasn’t a hero who helped improved public health and safety, he was a terrorist to!

David says:

Re: Re: Re:

Laws like this have nothing to do with breaking the law, the only thing they’re concerned about is keeping such law-breaking from going public, and potentially affecting a company’s profit
Well, then it is clear-cut terrorism. It is quite obvious that those terrorists are threatening to cut into the profits of exactly those companies who are paying the politicians for putting the laws they hand them into effect.

They are threatening everything that the U.S.A. stands for. Or rather lies on the ground for.

Baron von Robber says:

This just in

AP News – 03/21/21, Boise, Idaho

Molly The Cow was sentenced to 20 years in prison for breaking SB1337. She was wearing a hidden camera in her bell, showing the abuses of her fellow bovine at the hands (and other parts) of her masters. She said she did it to expose the wrong doings of the ag industry, but the court deemed it otherwise. Judge Giveme Moore said of Molly, “She showed udder contempt of this court!”

3 news stations and 24 newspapers were closed down for showing the video and reporting the issue.

Anonymous Coward says:

given the attitude of Hollywood etc, i suppose the next thing file sharers will be called is ‘copyright terrorists’.

bear in mind the entertainment industries coined the phrase ‘piracy’ to mean anyone who copied media disks or downloaded them from the internet, even though the term is far removed from the original meaning. it was done to be a ‘crowd puller’. it was done so that anyone sued would be made to look as if he/she had actually let off a nuclear bomb rather than copied a movie disk. the sensationalism had the required effect. i assume this is the reason for the terms in the article. nothing sounds better than over-exaggerating when an industry wants something brought to the attention of politicians, all of whom are drooling at the mouth, waiting for a way to get the next ‘campaign contribution’ flowing into the coffers!!

Anonymous Coward says:

Activism is one thing and abuses and I’m all for fighting abuses, however the views and tactics of some of these groups (and yes, I’m looking at you peta) are so extreme that it’s understandable that these terms exist. In fact the I first heard the term eco-terrorist way back in the mid 90’s long before the post-9/11 hype of the term terrorist where it was coined as the result of such extreme actions. Are some activist groups now being unfairly labeled because of the hype from the label, probably. But it’s not completely borne out of the an attempt to use post 9/11 hysteria to brand people opposed to you as evil.

bshock says:

Let's be fair about this

For many industries, the very idea that outsiders might be privy to their everyday crimes is indeed terrifying. Therefore the terms “agro-terrorism” and “eco-terrorism” are accurate along very narrow, self-serving lines.

Next I imagine we’re going to see organized crime states such as New Jersey pass laws that make it illegal for anyone to film or record the process of offering and/or taking bribes. After all, we wouldn’t want the “etho-terrorists” (as in ethics) to win.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...