USDA Classifies PETA as a Terrorist Threat
Photo credit: coolz0r via Flickr/CC BY
PETA is one of the most controversial activist groups operating today. The group's contentious media campaigns, undercover operations, infamous advertising, and high profile demonstrations have made them perhaps the most notorious--and most polarizing--nonprofit organization there is. But are they terrorists? According to the US Department of Agriculture, they are now. And right when PETA was about to be able to call it quits, too. The USDA has just released a new security profile form (pdf), which it distributes to animal experimentation facilities. The form reveals that PETA has been classified as a terrorist threat by the US government--potentially opening up its members to prosecution as terrorists. According to Green is the New Red, an eco-activist rights website, the document was given to all facilities that conduct experiments on animals. They were asked to disclose whether they were the target of attacks or harassment from a list of terrorist groups--one of which, evidently, is PETA.
Here's an excerpt from the form:
B. Terrorist Threat. What terrorist activities have occurred in or around your building/facility in the past 5 years (documented cases)? Please check all that apply.As you can see, PETA has apparently been classified as "domestic special interest terrorists", along with the far more radical likes of the Animal Liberation Front.
[ ] Attack from international terrorists
[ ] Attack from domestic special interest terrorists
-[ ] Earth Liberation Front (ELF)
-[ ] Animal Liberation Front (ALF)
-[ ] People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)
-[ ] Animal Defense League (ADL)
-[ ] Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC)
-[ ] Formal hate group(s) (please specify):
-[ ] Other (please specify): ____________________
[ ] Cyber Attack from a known or unknown source.
This clearly reveals that the government has taken to treating PETA as a terrorist group. Now, I've had my many beefs with PETA (hello, pun) before, but this seems beyond the pale. PETA may be controversial, yes, but they are lawful, nonviolent and publicly funded. So how did they end up on a list of the nation's most dangerous domestic threats?
GNR has some ideas:
Because they expose what goes on behind closed doors . . . Animal industries are quite open about their desire to use terrorism laws to keep their practices out of the public spotlight. I recently posted about the Animal Agriculture Alliance calling for federal prosecution of undercover investigators. It's not because the investigators are violent. It is because they pose an even greater threat: educating the public.In other words, industries that rely on factory farming (the bane of PETA, and one of their hot button issues) may have the lobbying muscle to get PETA listed as a terrorist threat for their benefit.
That may be so. Even if it's not, the 'terrorist' categorization has some very troubling ramifications. For instance, according to the Sacramento Bee, four animal activists in California are currently facing terrorism charges for protesting at individual homes and creating fliers with names and addresses on them. Because they committed what amounts to trespassing, they've received some of the same charges leveled at groups that use bombs and carry out physical harm. While these protesting individuals' actions may very well have been illegal, do they really constitute terrorism?
We'll have to see what develops as more information is revealed--as it stands, listing PETA as domestic terrorists seems be more threatening to the general right for citizens to protest than anything else.
More on PETA and Terrorist Threats:
FBI Alert for Treehugger Wackos
PETA Has Pamela Anderson Stripping People at Airport (Video)
Obama Swats a Fly Ninja-Style, PETA Gets Worked Up
Why is PETA Making Fun of Fat Women ?
More on vegetarians and ethical animal treatment
Emeril's Vegetarian Recipes
Save a Cow, Eat a Vegetarian? Let's All Agree: Factory Farming is the Real Evil, Not Vegans
In a Vegetarian World, What Happens to the Cows?
Not Local? Not Organic? Not Humane
Single Slaughterhouse Shut Down for Animal Abuse; What About the Other 5,700?