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Complete the reflection on your use of media which is in your textbook. It is entitled Tracing Our Engagement with Industrialized Communication on page 54 Location 1403. The assignment asks you to

  • reflect upon your use of industrially produced content
  • examine the content you create and circulate
  • examine your attention to privacy policies

Write up your reflections

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A New Definition of Terrorism

The Most Dangerous Threat

In 2002, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) called environmental and animal rights terrorism the most dangerous threat to domestic security.

Step aside Osama bin Laden, you’ve been replaced.

Birth of the Animal Liberation Movement

What I think about vivisection is that if people admit that they have the right to take or endanger the life of living beings for the benefit of many, there will be no limit for their cruelty. 

—Leo Tolstoy

The Beginning

In 1977 – Kenneth Le Vasseur and Stepthen C. Sipman released two dolphins from the University of Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology and from this action they were the first Americans convicted of an animal liberation offense

1979 – the first Animal Liberation Front (ALF) action – seen as a fringe group and didn’t receive a lot of attention.

1984 – University of Pennsylvania’s Head Trauma Research Center was broken into and ALF activists confiscated over 70 hours’ worth of footage that revealed technicians and vivisectors mocking baboons who had been drugged and were brain-damaged. 

Public Outrage

The footage was aired on national television and after a year long campaign, the National Institutes of Health withdrew their funding and closed the laboratory.

This shows in order for change with respect to animals the public has to be educated on how they are being treated.

Politicians step in (not for the animals)

In 1989, Representative Charles Stenholm (D-TX) introduced the Farm Animal and Research Facilities Protection Act.

The act would be an amendment to the Food Security Act of 1985 and was designed to prevent “acts of terrorism” against anyone who participated in the animal industry.

Even with the fear of national security, the act never passed.

US Congress directed a study – “extent and effects of domestic and international terrorism on enterprises using animals for food or fiber production, agriculture, research, or testing”

Used examples from Great Britain and those examples worked.

1991, Stenholm is at it again. Same act, new misinformation.

To support the need for this act, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences wrote a report that warned of the destructive nature of terrorist acts against research facilities and mentioned that these acts had “no moral justification” and have slowed medical research thus denying hope to those dying of incurable diseases. 

The Medical Community Joins in (Why?)

Animal rights activists hurt their bottom line when laboratories close.

Labeling animal rights activists “terrorists” was not a moral stance nor was it a national security stance but rather it was a financial stance.

Same Act, New Name

The Farm Animal and Research Facilities Protection Act would be renamed in 1992 as the Animal Enterprise Protection Act (AEPA)

Signed into law by President George H.W. Bush. AEPA created a federal crime called “animal enterprise terrorism”

Terrorists? (By definition.

  Violence  No victims killed or injured in direct actions
  Political motives  None
  Innocent targets  Actions to protect the animals who are seen as innocent targets in the animal enterprise industry
  Subnational groups  Not part of a subnational group
  Creation of fear  Most direct actions are completed after hours and without history of injury the fear created could be argued that it is not warranted

How did this happen?

Stenholm’s largest contributor was the American Medical Association who has a reputation for refusing publication of articles critical of vivisection in their Journal of the American Medical Association. 

Why?

The United States spends $16 billion annually for animal testing and the National Institute of Health allocated 40% of its annual research budget to animal experiments.

Other AEPA supporters….

American Meat Institute, Milk Industry Foundation, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the Dairy Farmers of America, and pharmaceutical companies (Abbot Laboratories, Dow Chemical, Johnson, & Johnson, Pfizer, Wyeth).

Aren’t Animals protect by the Law? Why do we need activists?

On June 6, 2019, disturbing footage was released showing young calves being brutally beaten and abused at Fair Oaks Farms, one of the nation’s largest dairy producers.

A single investigator captured the footage while working undercover for under 3 months.

The video showed animals being kicked, beaten with plastic bottles, as well as a pile of dead calves.

The abuse was conducted by workers and took place in front of management and supervisors.

In just under 3 months, countless examples of animal cruelty were exposed yet Fair Oaks Farms have never been the focus of any reports of animal abuse or neglect by the Indiana State Board of Animal Health for nearly three decades.

What is Fair Oaks Farm?

Fair Oak Farms is a destination that is described as a place where visitors are offered the chance to learn more about where their food comes from.

This is done through their Dairy Adventure, Pig Adventure, and Crop Adventure but the abuse was hidden from the visitors.

The purpose of these investigations is to determine the treatment of animals that are part of our nation’s diet. 

In 2002, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) presented the “Animal Ecological Terrorism Act,” which was a model law that was distributed to lobbyists and lawmakers.

It proposed prohibiting “entering an animal research facility to take pictures by photograph, video camera, or other means with the intent to commit criminal activities or defame the facility or its owner.”

In 2007, an undercover investigation conducted by the Humane Society of the United States exposed a slaughterhouse in Chino, California, exposing many forms of cruel behavior to cows and the footage caused the U.S. Department of Agriculture to announce the largest meat recall in U.S. history.

The Hallmark/Westland slaughterhouse supplied the National School Lunch Program with meat.

Who are these laws protecting?

What do the investigations do?

Directly after the release of the video grocery store chains, Strack and Van Til, Jewel-Osco, and Family Express pulled Fairlife products from their shelves.

In a statement, the Jewel-Osco stated that they “strive to maintain high animal welfare standards across all areas of business, and work in partnership with our venders to ensure those standards are upheld.

Willful Ignorance

The average cow could live to about 25 years; dairy cows because of being constantly impregnated to supply breast milk are spent by age 4 or 5 and sent to slaughter.

The males are sent to a different facility to be raised for beef or veal while the females will replace their mothers. 

To meet demand for chicken in our country that “broiler” chickens were developed so that they can grow up to five points in 7 weeks instead of the usually 3 pounds in about 14 weeks.

More than 22 million nonhuman animals are tested upon in the United States yearly (Ryder, 2006).

Animals are unwilling subjects for pharmaceutical drugs, household goods, or cosmetic products.

To test hypotheses on how nonhuman animals would respond to various stimuli, researchers have induced alcohol addiction in cats, spun rhesus monkeys with their heads restrained, surgically inserted Escherichia. coli-infected clots into the peritonea of dogs, monkeys were starved at the University of Wisconsin–Madison in a “caloric restriction experiment.”

In a 2014 review published in the British Medical Journal, it was noted that even the research that may have the most promise, animal-based research often fail in human trials and within 20 years, less than 10% of science discoveries found with animal-based research are part of routine clinical use.

Packy

 In Portland, Oregon, on February 9, 2017, Packy, who during the Kennedy administration was the first elephant born in the western hemisphere in 44 years was humanely euthanized at the Oregon Zoo. 

An outpouring of sadness came from those who saw Packy as an American treasure as well as for those who saw him as a prisoner.

However, Packy’s medical records showed that he had arthritis, joint disease, foot disease, and for the last 3 years, tuberculosis.

None of these ailments are seen in wild elephants and tuberculosis is only seen in elephants who have human contact.

Ultimately, Packy died from a drug-resistant strain of tuberculosis.  

Packy’s Environmet

For most of his life Packy was confined to a 1-acre exhibit with a cement-floored barn and viewing cage.

He would pace back and forth because of stress and was obese since on average an elephant walks between 15 – 120 miles a day.

No zoo can accommodate an elephant (even the new Oregon Zoo’s elephant habitat that now has 4 acres accessible.)

Why early deaths?

Calves are weened quickly from their mothers so that they do not develop the necessary antibodies.

The quickness was because an elephant calf is worth money.

The Activist Becomes the Terrorist

On May 18, 2004, the U.S. Senate held a hearing titled “Animal Rights: Activism vs Criminality” that consisted solely on testimony about animal rights extremism with the main focus on the financial costs to corporations targeted by animal activists.

The purpose of these hearings was not hidden but it was obvious that the main issue with animal activists by our government was that they hurt the bottom line of many of their financial supporters.

Neither Democrats nor Republicans take a stand for animals.

What was discussed?

Yum!Brand foods would lose $50 million to accommodate animal right activist requests.

Fear if animals aren’t tested on then how can we cure Alzheimer’s? (even though over decades, no progress has been found from testing on animals).

Links between smoking and cancer, heart disease, and strokes were not shown in animal experiments but were proven in human clinical trials.

Out of 150 stroke therapies that were successful in nonhuman animal subjects, none of them improved stroke outcomes in humans (but at least we can help with strokes in animals).

One concern

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) expressed concerns writing “(m)ost Americans would not consider the harassment of animal testing facilities to be terrorism, any more than they would consider anti-globalization protestors or anti-war protestors or women’s health activists to be terrorists”

The SHAC 7

On May 26, 2004, a week after the senate hearing, seven members of the activist group Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) were arrested by FBI agents dressed in riot gear with guns pulled and helicopters above. 

SHAC was an international animal rights group who campaigned to close down Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS), which was one of the largest contract animal-test laboratories in the world.

Started in 1999 in Great Britain

Focused on secondary and tertiary targets that proved to be very successful.

Create discomfort, support pulled from HLS.

SHAC was successful because in 2005 when HLS failed to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), the vivisection industry pointed toward SHAC’s activism as the main cause for the omission.

Lawless Militant Radicals

Brought fear in the lives of people and their families.

Brings the concept of fear into the definition of terrorism.

Terrorism is not a feeling victim feels, it is an action that a victim experiences.

Black Faxes

No physical evidence that any of the SHAC defendants had any involvements in any of the crimes.

The evidence would help to understand the state of mind.

Trial

Throughout, the government failed to produce any evidence that the SHAC defendants were personally involved in any of the activities.

Arrested for another person’s crimes?

Some evidence were legal protests. – First Amendment?

On March 2, 2006, even with the lack of direct evidence tied to the defendants, the jury convicted every SHAC defendant on all counts.

Their sentences ranged from 12 months to 6 years. Under AEPA, their crimes would be seen as terrorism.

The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act

On May 18, 2005, the U.S. Senate held a hearing titled “Oversight on Eco-Terrorism Specifically Examining the Earth Liberation Front (‘ELF’) and the Animal Liberation Front (‘ALF’)”.

The fear in New Jersey was not actually the protection or the damaging of the environment but rather a lengthy discussion on how many of the pharmaceutical companies could be subject to these types of attacks.

Senator Barack Obama

“I do not want people to think that they treat from these organizations is equivalent to other crimes faced by Americans every day. According to the FBI, there were over 7,400 hate crimes committed in 2003—half were racially motivated . . . The FBI reports 450 pending environmental crimes involving worker endangerment or threats to public health or the environment . . . I urge the Committee to focus its attention on larger environmental threats, such as the dangerously high blood-levels of lead in hundreds of thousands of children.”

Representative Bennie Thompson (D-MS) who was on the House Committee on Homeland Security and coauthored a report entitled, “10 Years After the Oklahoma City Bombing, the Department of Homeland Security Must Do More to Fight Right-Wing Terrorist,” was not permitted to testify.

In his report on right-wing terrorism, he criticized the Department of Homeland Security for focusing its counterterrorism efforts on “left-wing” domestic groups that promote nonviolence toward human life. 

Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) brought up a stronger argument against the proposed bill against these activists when he warned about assuming guilt by association mentioning how just because Timothy McVeigh belonged to the NRA it does not designate the NRA a terrorist group.

Another obvious part of the hearing was the belief that vivisection was more important and valued than free speech. Howard Coble (R-NC) wondered about the “chilling effect upon more legitimate animal research by law abiding citizens (Senate Committee, 2005).”

Vivisection-promotion groups such as the National Association for Biomedical Research (NABR) explained how animal research had played a role in every major medical advance of the last century and if animal activists were able to disrupt that research, then our world would be threatened. — This is not even close to the truth.

Michael Podell’s “important” research

Abandoned his HIV research (this case was presented by the Federation of American Societies from Experimental Biology) because of animal rights extremists.

Research on cats focused on methamphetamine’s effect on human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) progression.

In his research, he injected cats with methamphetamine and then would cut into their brain tissue to examine their responses. He then would euthanize and dissect them.

Podell’s research was interested in studying the feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) in cats with the hypothesis that advances that occurred in cats would be able to be used to be closer for the cure for the HIV.

However, FIV and HIV are not medical equivalent even though the committee was told that the research was promising and contributed to the fight against AIDS.

Moreover, in December 2001, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine sued the National Institutes of Health for withholding details about Podell’s work, which included mainly his justification for choosing cats as an experimental subject.

The National Institutes of Health spent $1.68 million over 5 years on Podell’s work that produced no important findings.

The failure was blamed on the animal rights activists and not the questionable methodology the produced no results.

“A handful of animal extremists had succeeded where Osama bin Laden had failed”

A small amount of activists created immense losses for HLS including a $50,000 fine from the USDA for violating animal-welfare laws, loss of value in the company’s stock, and the removal of HLS from the NYSE.

Even with the knowledge that the AETA would criminalize acts protected by the Constitution, President George W. Bush signed it into law on November 27, 2006.

Politician (Political Party Affiliation—State)Financial Connect to the AETA
Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)Feinstein’s husband at the time was the Chairman of the Board of the CB Richard Ellis Group, which is a large firm that deals in commercial real estate and caters to enterprises that conduct vivisection on nonhuman animals.
James Inhofe (R-OK)Owns approximately $250,000 in energy-related businesses and the oil/gas industry has contributed over $1.2 million to his campaign. He supports the dumping of nuclear materials. He won the 2005 Oklahoma Farm Bureau “Lifetime Achievement Award” and the Oklahoma Pork Council gave him a “Distinguished Service Award.”
Tom Petri (R-WI)Cosponsored the AETA. Supported the Milk Income Loss Contract (dairy industry is a supporter). He heads the Badger Fund whose top contributor is American Food Groups who owns slaughterhouses.
Robert Scott (D-VA)Cosponsored the AETA. Personal investments in Johnson & Johnson, Yum! Brands, and Procter & Gamble.
F. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI)Owns stock in Abbot Laboratories, Phizer, and Merck & Company totaling over $2.4 million.

Even though the Congress did not stand up for the rights of nonhuman animals, the Supreme Court did. In U.S. v Stevens, the Court struck down (8-1) a law that would criminalize the commercial sale or possession of video depicting animal cruelty.

Justice Roberts rejected the effort by the government to create an animal cruelty exception to the first amendment.

This finding ruled that the state has an obligation to protect animals since like children they are vulnerable.

In 1969, the Supreme Court held that the government cannot restrict speech of someone advocating the use of force or other illegal conduct unless that speech would produce imminent criminal action. The case was Brandenburg v Ohio.

Clarence Brandenburg was a leader of the Ku Klux Klan and the Court protected his right to free speech.

Unlike hate, our lawmakers see speech against the cruelty of animals as something that would produce imminent criminal action.

AETA can limit protection of animals

For instance, in 28 countries it is illegal to declaw a cat but in the United States the fight is just beginning because it is a common practice that is supported by many vets as a procedure that can be done quickly for a cost between $100 and $250.

The misconception is that the cat’s “nails” are similar to humans but actually they are similar to the tips of a human finger.

When a cat is declawed, it is similar to a human getting the tips of their fingers cut off. 

Animal rights groups have been very successful in fighting against the cruelty of the fur industry, the use of live animals in circuses, saving the lives of beagles who otherwise would be euthanized after they are done being experimented upon, and promoting legislation to outlaw puppy mills.

Other attempts to remove wales from aquariums and parks and expose the cruelty of horse racing are currently underway among many other attempts to expose animal cruelty in our society.

Could it be said that the terrorist who is fighting the imperial power or the left wing group fighting against police brutality and unjust wars are both undergoing the similar fight to the animal rights activist who is fighting the cruelty toward animals?

Are both groups just trying to bear witness to the suffering that surrounds us.

The suffering that the powers to be want to keep from us because willful ignorance ensures a lack of activism.

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