People usually laugh when I tell them I am a convicted terrorist.
I try not to open with that – it seems a little bit forward. First, I explain how my friend Tyler and I entered a fur farm in the dead of night. I describe the unspeakable suffering we found there. I tell people how Tyler and I opened every single cage and released 2,000 mink to save their lives. And once they have the context, I segue into the terrorism thing.
Now that I have been out of prison for more than a year, I can be a bit more lighthearted about it. But the seventh circuit court of appeals doesn’t see the humor.
Last Wednesday, the court upheld the constitutionality of the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, the federal statute that put me away for three years and that my lawyers at the Center for Constitutional Rights have been trying to challenge for nearly a decade.
The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act is a piece of designer legislation written and paid for by the agriculture and pharmaceutical industries. It federalizes non-violent property crime and punishes it as terrorism – but only when the perpetrators are motivated by the belief that animals deserve to live free from violence.
The court explicitly stated that the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act did not apply to four Fresno, California, teenagers who sneaked into a Foster Farms facility and bludgeoned 900 chickens to death with a golf club because “they killed the chickens for no reason”.
Put succinctly, I am a terrorist not because of what I did, but because the government dislikes why I did it....
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