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 GreenIsTheNewRed.com, 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.

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Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Ninja (profile), Mar 21st, 2014 @ 9:14am

    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.

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 21st, 2014 @ 11:03am

    What, you mean people are painting their opponents as "terrorists" to discredit and silence them? No way, nothing like that could EVER really happen. /s

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 21st, 2014 @ 11:08am

    When was the definition of terrorism changed to that of exposing the excesses and law breaking of companies and politicians? They must be terrified of being caught breaking the law.

     

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  4.  
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    RyanNerd (profile), Mar 21st, 2014 @ 11:16am

    But what about the children?

    Who will protect the children from these dirty rotten trouble making whistleblowers, er I mean terrorists?

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    JEDIDIAH, Mar 21st, 2014 @ 11:16am

    Edward is spinning in his grave...

    Pretty much. They've basically redefined "terrorism" to mean investigative journalism. Unfortunately, we can't count on the Supremes to recognize this rather obvious fact and what an obvious buggering of the Constitution this is.

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    David, Mar 21st, 2014 @ 11:17am

    First amendment, anybody?

    Not? Pity.

    The judge is bound by those kind of unconstitutional lobby-paid not-really-laws, but I hope that there are enough people with a brain in the typical jury to nullify.

    Vapid hope, I know.

    The American political system is so thoroughly corrupted that it's hard to believe.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 21st, 2014 @ 11:19am

    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!

     

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  8.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Mar 21st, 2014 @ 11:20am

    Re:

    We need a new Godwin's Law. Any law that invokes terrorism is ultimately about terrorizing a benign organization. Or something like that.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 21st, 2014 @ 11:21am

    "Under this new law, the whistleblowers who exposed the cruelty face criminal penalties worse than those who committed the abuse."

    How are you supposed to catch someone committing a crime if it is a crime to report it?!

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    DCL, Mar 21st, 2014 @ 11:33am

    Re:

    Who said doing those things to an animal is against the law there? ... just saying

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    Chris Brand, Mar 21st, 2014 @ 11:43am

    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.

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    zip, Mar 21st, 2014 @ 11:43am

    snubbed by new press shield law

    It's revealing that the federal press shield bill currently in the works will specifically *NOT* protect amateur (and many non-mainstream) reporters, like these animal-rights activists who undertake these kind of investigative journalism missions.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/21/chuck-schumer-glenn-greenwald_n_5008524.html

     

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  13.  
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    Baron von Robber, Mar 21st, 2014 @ 11:44am

    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.

     

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  14.  
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    Mark Wing, Mar 21st, 2014 @ 11:44am

    These days Gandhi would probably be branded a terrorist.

     

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  15.  
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    Rich Kulawiec, Mar 21st, 2014 @ 11:55am

    Re: Re:

    I'll take a shot at that.

    "Anyone calm enough to level an accusation of 'terrorism' -- instead of running for their life -- is lying."

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 21st, 2014 @ 12:20pm

    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!!

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 21st, 2014 @ 12:25pm

    Re: Re:

    That's even worse... why would you care if someone reported it if it wasn't illegal? The only logical explination would be that it's bad publicity, which means it probably shouldn't be happening anyway.

     

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  18.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Mar 21st, 2014 @ 12:37pm

    Re:

    Simple: You're not. 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 profits.

     

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  19.  
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    PRMan, Mar 21st, 2014 @ 1:25pm

    Re:

    Gandhi was most definitely referred to as a terrorist. A paper from 1932 declaring those words was just sold at auction.

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 21st, 2014 @ 2:32pm

    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.

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    bshock, Mar 21st, 2014 @ 4:51pm

    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.

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 21st, 2014 @ 6:44pm

    Is the use of glitter defined in this bill?

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 21st, 2014 @ 7:23pm

    These people need to be removed from genetic gene pool.

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 21st, 2014 @ 7:39pm

    *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.*

    Sheesh, talk about a non sequitur.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    icon
    btr1701 (profile), Mar 21st, 2014 @ 11:32pm

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    icon
    btr1701 (profile), Mar 21st, 2014 @ 11:35pm

    Re: Re:

    The earth's climate is a chaotic system. What kind of fool expects a chaotic system to never change? It's been changing since the dawn of time and will continue to change until the day the sun goes red giant and engulfs the earth.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    David, Mar 22nd, 2014 @ 3:34am

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    Shelley, Mar 22nd, 2014 @ 7:11am

    Law being challenged in court

    Thankfully, Idaho's law is being challenged in court by the ACLU and other individuals and groups. As other ag-gag laws have been.

    Next, we'll see the same laws guarding coal, oil, and fracking.

    http://ecowatch.com/2014/03/19/rachel-maddow-waterkeeper-alliance-photos-duke-energy-coal-ash-dumpin g/

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    icon
    McCrea (profile), Mar 22nd, 2014 @ 12:54pm

    Re: But what about the children?

    Yes, we have to pass the laws so that unsuspecting children on the Internet will never be exposed to animal cruelty media. The innocence of the children must be preserved.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
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    toyotabedzrock (profile), Mar 23rd, 2014 @ 11:49am

    They just protected animal rapists. I think they are underestimating the guy who runs mercy for animals because his supporters are partly hidden from the view of the industry.

     

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  31.  
    identicon
    Pragmatic, Mar 24th, 2014 @ 4:20am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "When 'because terrorism' is invoked to bring in laws that restrict our freedoms, it's bogus." - Bush's Law

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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