Eco-terrorism - Just what is it?
Is there Eco-terrorism? The government, the private sector (at least the portion involved with animals) and the Environmental/Animal Rights movements certainly think so, but the question is in how it is defined. According to Paul Watson, founder of The Sea Shepards Conservation Society, explains in Terrorists or Freedom Fighters that the actions of the companies and governments that damage the environment are acts of terrorism; however the FBI (and likely all federal law enforcement) and those companies in the private sector that have been targeted see Eco-terrorism in a different light - as terrorism. Why the difference? Well, simply put, no one calls themselves a terrorist - at least not seriously. They are always something else because they have a cause, and they generally also have interpretation of morality that justifies their actions. In this case the Enviro-Animal Rights movement works around a couple of justifications that are essentially synonymous.
First is 'Biocentrism,' or the belief that all life is equally valuable. Second is Speciesism, which is similar to racism or sexism in that humans wrongfully mistreat other species rather than treating them as equals. What? You say this doesn't jive with your sense of morality? Well it doesn't have to at this point. There are, however, those that feel you need to change, and they are willing to use violence to affect that change. This, of course, depends on your definition of violence. The Animal Rights/Liberation folks argue that violence can only be committed against animals and not property, so they do not describe their actions as violent - because they only destroy property. Destruction in the form of arson, denial of service attacks, intimidation and open threats.
Yah, but they're only freeing animals from labs, you say? Take a reality check, now! I'm not talking about those that engage in legal protests or "relatively harmless" efforts to rescue animals. No I'm talking about the arson in San Diego costing over $50 million in damage - that's right $50,000,000. I'm talking about posting the names, addresses, and family information (children's schools, etc.) of executives for companies that have been targeted on the web for all to see. This may not seem so bad to you, but imagine if you were hated by a group of people - a group large enough to provide individual anonymity - and your information was posted at a website frequented by these members. Members that read such material as "Eco-defense: A Field Guide to Monkeywrenching" and other materials that discuss methods for intimidating individuals - threatening letters, phone calls and the like. Wouldn't you be just a bit concerned? I think so.
The goal with these movements are similar but not identical. The Environmental movement comes in several varieties that can be seen as a continuum. On one end are those that are focused on conservation, or protecting current wild lands, and leading to those that want to reintroduce wildlife - particularly predators - into these wildlands, which lead to others that want to reclaim wildlands - including displacing humans now in residence - and still others at the far, far extreme that want to reverse the technology clock altogether. So the goal is to protect the environment from human damage - often seen to be caused by technology and overpopulation - and to improve the environment. Some radicals argue against vaccines as inappropriate meddling with nature while she is trying to balance the ecology by reducing the populations. The Animal Rights movement, as it is generically called, can also be seen on a continuum. On one end is Animal Welfare, followed by Animal Rights, followed by Animal Liberation. Animal welfarists tend to argue specifically against cruelty to animals but may not elevate them to the same status as humans. Animal Rights folks argue that animals are equals and will work to rescue them with their fringe element, Animal Liberationists, being those willing to commit serious crimes to "liberate" animals and damage enterprises that are considered exploitative.
So is it a real threat? Sure. As much as any other movement can be when they are willing to break the law, destroy property, and threaten human lives. How far will their efforts go? Well that really depends on many things, but it's unreasonable to believe they will simply change their beliefs and go home - expect to see these folks around for some time now.
For some more information search such topics as: Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty, Animal Liberation Front, Earth Liberation Front, Earth First!, Animal Rights, and so on....
See the entire post