Recently both houses of congresses voted overwhelmingly the pass the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, a law which they claim is meant to battle â€œeco-terrorism,â€? or terrorism against institutions which exploit the environment or animals. It is part of a larger policy course these past few years, which environmental rights activists have labeled the â€œGreen Scare.â€? Supporters of the bill say that it will protect scientists, researchers, farmers, and other industries from animal rights extremists.
The main criticisms of the bill are similar to other counter-terrorism legislation passed in recent years, such as the USA Patriot Act, and are that the law is too vague and curtails civil liberties. The bill is supposedly meant to curtail violent extremism, yet it specifically mentions nonviolent protestors. Many of the nonviolent tactics that animal rights activists use, such as sit-ins, blockades, trespassing into research centers to investigate animal cruelty, and freeing animals who are used as test subjects, would now be considered â€œterrorism.â€? And in fact, according to this law, it is a crime for animal rights activists to cause â€œloss of profitâ€? to companies.
The most ridiculous thing about this bill, in my opinion, is that while it is true that some groups, such as the ELF and ALF occasionally cause property damage, they go out of their way to make sure that no animals - â€œhuman or nonhumanâ€? - are hurt by their actions. So, to me, someone who lived in New York City and still has lots of family there, it is rather offensive that the government is now putting the murder of 3,000 people in an actual terrorist attack in the same category as activists freeing puppies, monkeys, and other animals that are used for various research and testing projects