Essay: Some Victims Are More Equal Than Others
Animals: Tradition - Philosophy - Religion Article from


Stephen Kaufman, M.D., Christian Vegetarian Association (CVA)

Essay: Some Victims Are More Equal Than Others 

In a disturbing development, last month Arnold Christopher Lagergreen’s misdemeanor charge of trespassing was upgraded to a felony count for disrupting an “animal enterprise.” This evidently emanates out of the Animal Enterprises Terrorism Act, which levels far more serious charges against those engaged in civil disobedience targeting companies involved in harming animals. There are at least two major problems with AETA.
First, the Act’s wording includes “intimidation” as a felony offense. Intimidation is subjective and depends on the perspective of the “victim.” It would be easy for Joe the Furrier to claim that he feels “intimidated” if protestors were to shout, “Joe must be stopped!” Second, “animal enterprises” should not receive special status as victims. The only reason that such establishments enjoy greater protection is that AETA is designed to intimidate animal activists from engaging in misdemeanor civil disobedience or from doing anything that might be interpreted as a crime. Thanks to AETA, the law now regards corporate “persons” whose focus is the exploitation and abuse of animals as more valuable than other persons, including living, breathing ones.

In the United States, constitutional rights protect citizens from power-hungry government officials and those acting at the behest of the wealthy and powerful. I think we must all vigorously defend the rights of free speech, association, protest, etc., even when we happen to disagree with the positions of those whose basic freedoms are being challenged. Without these freedoms, all social justice movements – not just animal protectionism – become greatly impaired. 

Go on to: Reflections on This Week’s Lectionary: Titus 2:11-14
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