by Will Potter
Woman Sentenced to 2 Years for Rescuing Dog, "Terrorists" Rescue More Animals in Retaliation
As both the US and UK governments (and many others) are cracking down on animal rights and environmental activists, labeling them as terrorists and hitting them with outrageous prison sentences, supporters say it is for a few reasons. First, they say that these activists are national security threats. Second, they say that this boot-on-the-throat approach will deter future illegal activity by underground, "eco-terrorist" groups like the Animal Liberation Front.
But here�s a recent example of how this "Green Scare" plays out in real life.
A UK activist named Sara Whitehead was just sentenced to 2 years in prison for rescuing a beagle from an abusive home. That�s right, two years. Neighbors had filed complaints with the police and the RSPCA, to no avail. When Whitehead rescued the dog, cops pounced surprisingly quickly: it turns out Whitehead, like many activists, was already under police surveillance.
So has this use of police resources, to crack down on a woman rescuing an abused dog, deterred illegal activity by "eco-terrorist" groups like the Animal Liberation Front?
Far from it.
Bite Back Magazine has published an anonymous communiqué that says:
"Animal liberation volunteers are claiming responsibility for the direct intervention in the animal farming industry, as an act of solidarity with Sarah Whitehead who is currently behind bars for doing the right thing. While Sarah remains locked in her cell for freeing animals from pain and misery, volunteers successfully liberated 50 Turkeys from an Eastern factory farm.
This action means these sentient beings were spared from constant suffering, their lives destined to be cut short with the blade of slaughterhouse machinery. No longer will their existence be to fill the mouths of a salivating and greedy nation. They now exist as valued individuals, remaining happy and free.
Love and liberation for Sarah and all other captive individuals!
Animal Liberation Front"
This isn�t a new phenomenon. After a US court convicted the SHAC 7 on "animal enterprise terrorism" charges for running a controversial website, underground activists retaliated. And after lawmakers passed the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, underground activists retaliated.
The outrageous prison sentences, the scare-mongering legislation, the spying: it�s not deterring underground activists. It�s only giving them one more reason to fight.
But lets stop for a moment so we can truly appreciate the absurdity of this situation. This is what the global "War on Terrorism" has become: a "animal rights terrorist" sentenced to two years in prison for rescuing a dog, and the "terrorist" retaliation is� saving more lives.
ALF Respond to Roundup of Lawful Activists by Freeing Animals
July 25, 2008
On May 21st in Austria, the government carried out an unprecedented round-up of the country�s most prominent, above-ground, lawful animal advocates. Some of them have been on hunger strike in protest. The Guardian reports that "shelter workers, animal welfare teachers and public campaign organizers" are held "under suspicion of membership in �a criminal organisation.�"
Well, a judge in Austria recently ruled to keep them behind bars because they pose a "security risk." An example of this security risk cited by the court is that Martin Balluch (who writes about his hunger strike here), was asked if he would remain chairman of the Association Against Animal Factories if he were released, and he said yes.
In Austria, as in the United States, this has all been done in the name of fighting "terrorism" and disrupting "terrorist organizations" like the Animal Liberation Front and Earth Liberation Front. But just like in Sara Whitehead�s case, the Austrian roundup has only added fuel to the fire of underground activists.
Bite Back Magazine reports this translation of an anonymous communiqué from Germany: "But we released at least 2000 mink! We gave them a chance to escape. A chance is better because in a few months they will be killed by the farmer. These animals deserve freedom! This action is dedicated to the imprisoned Austrian animal activists!" -
So even if you think that animal advocates are "terrorists," even if you think that the government should crack down on underground groups mercilessly, it ain�t workin�.
But I would argue that all this is not MEANT to work. It�s not meant to stop illegal activity, because in many ways, illegal activity isn�t the true threat. The true threat is that the beliefs of these individuals�that animals and the environment deserve the same consideration as human interests�are gaining massive ground. Austria is one of the most progressive countries in the world in terms of protecting animals. And many of the activists that were rounded up were working on a constitutional amendment on animal welfare.
Martin Balluch, one of the arrestees, who has a double PhD in physics and philosophy and is a former colleague of Stephen Hawking, said it quite well in this ominous interview prior to his arrest:
"The moment the politicians can portray you as terrorists and are believed, they have won this battle, no matter what."