Originally published January 8 2012
FBI pushes to classify undercover animal abuse investigations as 'terrorism'
by Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
(NaturalNews) The USA Patriot Act, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), and various other unconstitutional "anti-terrorism" legislation all appear to be getting turned right back around on the American people. It has been revealed that the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has been keeping files on animal rights activists who conduct undercover investigations of factory farms, and the agency is now recommending that these activists be prosecuted as "terrorists."
Most of the video footage that has captured things like chickens stacked in endless rows of filthy battery cages, or pigs being beaten and forced mercilessly through food processing machines was captured by individuals who did so under cover, often having to lie to the farm owners to gain entry. This act of civil disobedience has been crucial in exposing extreme abuse, and in giving the public a glimpse into how animals raised for commercial consumption are treated.
These undercover investigations, of course, have also led many consumers to either stop eating meat altogether, or purchase meat from small-scale, family farms that raise their animals with dignity, and that allow them to live normal lives outside and on pastures, instead of in large, densely-packed warehouses and feedlots where the animals often never see the light of day.
In 2006, Congress passed the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA), which proponents insisted was only aimed at animal rights groups that burn down buildings, for instance, or commit various other legitimate property crimes. But now that the legislation is law, the FBI wants to use it to target those who merely try to expose what goes on behind the scenes at some of the nation's largest and most well-known factory farms.
According to the FBI, filming horrendous conditions at factory farms can cause said farms to experience "economic loss," which the agency says fits the parameters of AETA's "terrorist" activity. In other words, the mere act of taking pictures or capturing video at factory farms is a "reasonable indication," according to the FBI, that an individual has violated AETA.
In order to combat the FBI's egregious efforts in this matter, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) has filed a lawsuit in Massachusetts challenging the constitutionality of AETA, which can be so broadly defined as to criminalize protesting and free speech. The group says the bill is "unconstitutional" and "in violation of the First Amendment," as well as the constitutional right to due process (http://ccrjustice.org/newsroom/news/lawsuit-challenges-animal-enterprise-terror-law-unconstitutional).
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