Jonathan Safran Foer: American Terrorist? | Mikko Alanne | 12/01/09

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The laudable work done by bestselling author Jonathan Safran Foer in revealing deplorable conditions of farm animals -- is illegal and constitutes terrorism.

With the publication of Jonathan Safran Foer's captivating and powerful book, Eating Animals, much has been said and written about his undercover investigative work, which gives America a view inside the hidden world of factory farms.

What has not been commented on, however, is the disquieting fact that under existing federal and state laws, Mr. Foer's undercover actions -- while clearly an important public service -- are actually illegal, and what's more, they constitute acts of domestic terrorism.

Sound absurd? It should. But the reality is this:

In 2006, President Bush signed into law a little-known but sweeping piece of legislation called the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA), an expansion of the previously existing and equally little-known Animal Enterprise Protection Act.

With speed and lack of reflection rivaling the passage of the USA Patriot Act after 9/11, Congress pushed this animal industry-crafted law through in a single day, with only a lone dissenting vote in opposition, that of Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich.

Was Mr. Kucinich the only one to read that AETA makes into domestic terrorism any actions that physically interfere with the operation of any animal enterprise, or that cause physical or economic damage to the said enterprise, regardless of motive or reason?

Yes, you read that correctly.

Under AETA, the following actions by Mr. Foer -- all described in his book -- constitute animal enterprise terrorism:

Mr. Foer, a New York resident, illegally and under the cover of night, enters a turkey factory farm in California with an animal rights activist identified only as "C." This is interstate travel and conspiracy, and also a violation of California's own sweeping Animal Enterprise Protection Act and other laws prohibiting trespassing on, filming in, or otherwise documenting the operations of a factory farm.

Following the initial trespass, "C." -- with the clear foreknowledge and consent of Mr. Foer -- euthanizes a sick and suffering turkey chick writhing on the floor. Now we're talking conspiracy and destruction of property of an animal enterprise.

There are further actions and statements in the book that could also be interpreted as Mr. Foer interfering, or at least trying to interfere with the operation of various animal enterprises. Indeed, much of what Mr. Foer exposes stirs such moral indignation that it'd be strange if people didn't take to the streets to demand change, thereby possibly interfering with the operation of one animal enterprise or another.

For all this, our laws say, Mr. Foer could be prosecuted as a domestic terrorist. But of course he won't be. I hope. Not because what I say isn't true, but because Mr. Foer is protected by his stature as a celebrated author. Unfortunately, animal rights activists such as "C." are not so lucky.

Despite FBI and Congressional claims to the contrary, AETA has -- and is --being used to criminalize and prosecute legal, constitutionally protected activities aimed at exposing and stopping the hidden cruelties of America's animal industries.

One person who tried to warn Congress of the threat of such prosecutions was investigative journalist Will Potter, who testified about the civil liberties implications of AETA before its passage, and who continues to be the lone voice covering this issue at his excellent and eye-opening blog,, which draws chilling parallels between the persecution of animal rights and environmental activists today and the civil rights abuses of the McCarthy era.

Consider this:

In 2006, six young American activists affiliated with the animal rights group Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty USA received a combined sentence of 23 years in federal prison, simply for operating a website that called for legal protests against the multinational animal testing giant Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS) and its suppliers.

After radical underground activists unaffiliated with the campaign engaged in post-protest vandalism, the organizers were arrested, charged with inciting animal enterprise terrorism, and convicted in one of the most chilling and speedy secret trials in memory, from which all press was banned.

Shockingly, the SHAC USA verdict was recently held up on appeal by the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court in Philadelphia, which found that even legal, constitutionally protected activity can be criminalized in the context of AETA prosecutions.

Earlier this year, four northern California animal rights activists were arrested and charged with terrorism for protesting, chalking the sidewalk, and leafleting outside the homes of animal researchers.

The FBI continues to characterize "animal rights extremists" and "eco-terrorists" as the nation's leading domestic threats, even though not a single person in our country has ever been physically harmed by these people. Ever.


Read the whole story here.


8 Comments | Leave a comment


Thank you for EATING ANIMALS!


I have the book and am just pages from finishing it. Extremely balanced reporting and very moving. I am already vegan; for my health and the health of the planet primarily although the hideous nature in which animals are now raised disgusts me; but this book still moved me. Strange that the production and sale of a product injurious to the health of our society and planet is not considered terror against our people...only exposing the crime of factory farming is terror. Very backwards. But not to worry I read just this morning that science is now capable of producing meat without animals in a test tube and it should be on the market in a few years once they get the flavor right. That is the truth and not a joke. They don't tell us about radiated food and I am quite certain this will be sold as farm raised meat without disclosure as well. Eat wisely.


Read "Eating Animals" and perhaps you will also decide that the only rational and emotional response to the facts as reported is to raise your child Vegan. After all, what better gift could we give our children than the gift of health and the knowledge that the simple act of eating may ultimatley help heal the planet and protect the animals that experience a daily Holocaust. Hopefully, Foer's book will have a similar impact on this generation as did Robbin's "Diet for a New America" had on ours. That would be a blessing!


Hi, I am vegan for 20 years now. Yes, we are slowly killing ourselves by eating animal protein! I am opposed to fake made meat too as it will still kill us.


Hi, I have not read the book yet but am looking forward to it.
I do hope you are right that the next generation will understand the holocaust for animals.

I have 2 grand children eating all the animal proteins, just like mky daughter and husband. They think of it as "tradition" and say, Look at grandpa, he ate all this and he is fine at 88! This makes me SICK
but I do not know how to break the barrier. They refuse to see, read or talk about the animals.


"With speed and lack of reflection rivaling the passage of the USA Patriot Act after 9/11, Congress pushed this animal industry-crafted law through in a single day,"

This is so irritating. There's no shame with this democrat controlled congress. They throw these things together and rush them through without ever reading them. If they spent half as much time reading the bills and understanding them as they do with adding pork and pet projects, they might actually get something valuable done.


This bill passed the house with only six members voting. Dennis Kucinich spoke against the bill, he did not stay to vote. Irregardless this is how politics in America works today, more people need to realize how corrupt the system has become. This is terrible. Many bills are passed in the dead of night by a few members. We have to be on constant guard to protect what is remaining of our liberties. Stand up for the Constitution.


Thank You Jonathan for the great work, truthful work. Of course the meat and dairy industries will call you a are hitting their pocket book! Just follow the money, and you can follow the lies about Jonathan and this TRUE, undercover work.
Please stay strong, as you are a powerful, honest author.

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