07 April 2011

Minnesota bill threatens thirty years in prison for exposing animal suffering

Factory farmers are getting scared, and thanks to six republicans, so are activists.

Legislators in Minnesota recently proposed a new bill, similar to the one introduced in Iowa, that uses extremely vague language which could condemn an activist to 30 years in prison under the guise of "eco-terrorism" and "animal enterprise terrorism." To make matters worse, the bill would also mean that any person sharing this information via pamphlet, youtube, etc. could be convicted of a misdemeanor.

As noted in Green is the New Red:

"Animal facility interference.” This provision targets those who, without the owner’s consent, “produce a record which reproduces an image or sound occurring at the animal facility.” Even worse, it targets those who “possess or distribute a record which produces an image or sound occurring at the animal facility.” In other words, these Republicans are not only targeting anyone who exposes abuses in these facilities, but anyone who distributes that information (presumably via DVD, or potentially YouTube videos.

One has to wonder what the likes of PETA and HSUS will do when lawmakers try to force them to stop their work and take down their websites. While I normally don't agree with their speciesist and welfarist tactics, I'm actually breathing a sigh of relief as I'm afraid large organizations are the only ones with the money and person-power to fight such a preposterous bill. And I can only imagine what it would be like for the person responsible for going through every single book and movie ever made to determine which ones portray animal agriculture or animal mills in a bad light.

I wonder how they'll try to silence us next. I guess the constitution doesn't mean anything after all.

Ryan Leitch
Ryan is an Abolitionist Vegan Activist and her passion for all things vegan consumes her. Animals are here with us, not for us. Her favorite outreach activities include writing and blogging, hosting movie screenings, tabling and leafletting, demonstrations, potlucks, and Vegan Drinks. You can also find Ryan at Vegan Minneapolis.

Photo credit:cc: flickr.com/photos/ken_mayer