portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article commentary united states

animal rights | green scare | prisons & prisoners

SHAC 7 and the Future of Democracy

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Trial By Fire: The SHAC 7 and the Future of Democracy

"The FBI has made the prevention and investigation of animal rights extremists and eco-terrorism... a domestic terrorism investigative priority."
-John E. Lewis, deputy assistant FBI director in counterterrorism, speaking to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, May 2004

"Ah, but in such an ugly time, the true protest is beauty." -Phil Ochs, songwriter
Since 1999, Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) activists in the U.K. and U.S.
have waged an aggressive direct action campaign against Huntingdon Life Sciences
(HLS), an insidious animal testing company notorious for extreme animal abuse
(torturing and killing 500 animals a day) and manipulated research data. SHAC roared
onto the historical stage by combining a shrewd knowledge of the law, no-nonsense
direct action tactics, and a singular focus on one corporation that represents the
evils of the entire vivisection industry. From email and phone blockades to raucous
home demonstrations, SHACtivists have attacked HLS and pressured over 100 companies
to abandon financial ties to the vivisection firm. By 2001, the SHAC movement drove
down HLS stock values from $15/share to less than $1/share. Smelling profit
emanating from animal bloodshed, investment banking firm Stephens Inc. stepped in to
save HLS from bankruptcy. But, as happened to so many companies before them,
eventually Stephens too could not withstand the intense political heat and so fled the SHAC
kitchen. Today, as HLS struggles for solvency, SHAC predicts its immanent demise.

Growing increasingly powerful through high-pressure tactics that take the fight to
HLS and their supporters rather than to corrupt legislatures, the SHAC movement
poses a clear and present danger to animal exploitation industries and the state
that serves them. Staggered and driven into the ropes, it was certain that SHAC's
opponents would fight back. Throwing futile jabs here and there, the vivisection
industry and the state recently teamed up to mount a major counterattack. On May 26,
2004, a police dragnet rounded up seven prominent animal rights activists in New
Jersey, New York, Washington and California. Hordes of agents from the FBI, Secret
Service, and other law agencies stormed into the activists' homes at the crack of
dawn, guns drawn and helicopters hovering above. Handcuffing those struggling for a
better world, the state claimed another victory in its phony "war against terror."

The "SHAC 7" are Kevin Jonas, Lauren Gazzola, Jacob Conroy, Darius Fullmer, John
McGee, Andrew Stepanian, and Joshua Harper. The government has issued a five-count
federal indictment that charges each activist, and SHAC USA, with violations of the
1992 Animal Enterprise Protection Act, the first law that explicitly seeks to
protect animal exploitation industries from animal rights protests. Additionally,
SHAC USA, Jonas, Gazzola, and Conroy were charged with conspiracy to stalk
HLS-related employees across state lines, along with three counts of interstate
stalking with the intent to induce fear of death or serious injury in their
"victims." All of the charges bring a maximum $250,000 fine each. The main charge of
animal enterprise terrorism carries a maximum of three years in prison, while each
of the charges of stalking or conspiracy to stalk brings a five-year maximum
sentence.

Clearly, the state is now playing hard ball with the animal rights cause. The
arrests came just over a year after the FBI's domestic terrorism squad raided SHAC
headquarters in New Jersey and on the heels of constant surveillance and harassment.
Not coincidentally, the round-up also followed shortly after numerous executives
from animal exploitation industries appeared before a congressional committee to
stigmatize the style of activism practiced by SHAC (and People for the Ethical
Treatment of Animals) as a form of terrorism and to plead for new legal measures to
counter the increasingly effective direct action tactics of such groups. Following
the arrests, Christopher Christie, United States attorney for New Jersey, described
the government's intention behind the arrests in dramatically ironic and perverse
terms: "Our goal is to remove uncivilized people from civilized society."

The federal indictment against the SHAC 7 is a potential watershed in the history of
the animal rights movement, for it represents the boldest governmental attack on
activists to date, and it likely augurs a new wave of political repression in
response to the growing effectiveness of militant animal liberation politics.
Regardless of whether it should win or lose in this proceeding, the corporate-state
machine seeks to cast an ominous shadow over activists who dare to exercise their
First Amendment rights. Tellingly, corporate exploiters of animals want to respond
to criticism and protest with demands for surveillance, harassment, intimidation,
arrests, and appearances before grand juries.

This bold assault on the SHAC 7, which seeks to kneecap their ability to directly
challenge oppressive forces in society, demands a serious response from the entire
spectrum of progressive activists­those struggling for human rights, animal
rights, and the environment. "USA v. SHAC" should be a serious wake-up call to
everyone: this is post-Constitutional America.

All the Lies Fit to Print

"In our time political speech and writing are largely the defense of the
indefensible." -George Orwell

"I abhor vivisection with my whole soul. All the scientific discoveries stained
with innocent blood I count as of no consequence." -Mahatma Gandhi

Unable to stand without massive corporate aid and state support, HLS is
appropriately grateful to the government for arresting the SHAC 7. In their media
statement, HLS intoned: "The Company is heartened...to see justice done. So many
people have been victimized by this lawless [SHAC] campaign. These indictments are
in keeping with this nation's long tradition of standing up to bullies and
demonstrate the United States' continued determination to insure the safety of its
people." Similarly, U.S. Attorney Christie remarked for the state: "This is not
activism. This is a group of lawless thugs attacking innocent men, women and
children... Their business, quite frankly, is thuggery and intimidation."

The statements made by HLS and Christie are grotesque distortions of SHAC, the U.S.
political system, and the vivisection industry as a whole. HLS is a victimizer, not
a victim, and it perpetuates its crimes against the most unfortunate and defenseless
victims of all­the animals enslaved in the dungeons and torture chambers of sham
"science" and commercial interests. When the U.S. government actually protects and
underwrites animal exploiters and demonizes animal activists like SHAC as
"terrorists," it places an added responsibility on all activists to speak truth to
power: the true criminals are corporations that needlessly torment animals unto
their deaths and a government that defends those corporate interests while
systematically violating its own Constitution and the right to free speech.

Far from insuring "the safety of its people," the State's main mission is to protect
the property and profits of the Corporate Masters that it serves, whatever the
political, social, or ecological costs, and no matter what the toll to the
institutions of "democracy" (such as they are) or the dissidents exercising their
rights. U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison
and Guantanamo Bay, and religious extremists like Bush and Ashcroft who want to
plunge their own nation into the same authoritarian abyss as their avowed enemy Al
Qaeda are evidence of the bankruptcy of the "civilized society" upheld by Christie
and the entire ruling elite.

Although corporations, politicians, and media pundits routinely denounce SHAC as
anti-scientific, as an opponent to medical progress, and as an all-around
misanthropic enemy of the people, these accusations stick better to such
sludge-slingers themselves. In fact, SHAC strongly favors medical research so long
as it has a sound ethical and scientific basis, but it argues that animal-based
research does not meet either qualification. In their revisionist histories,
vivisectors attribute key breakthroughs in medical progress to the use of animal
experimentation, whereas credit really belongs to improved sanitation, epidemiology
(human-based studies), and other factors that have nothing to do with maiming and
poisoning animals.

Therefore, far from accelerating medical progress, there are good grounds to believe
that biomedical research impedes it and thus, ironically, groups like SHAC, and not
the vivisection establishment, are the catalysts for genuine scientific advancement.
Indeed, a November 17, 2003, Frontline documentary on PBS highlighted the well-known
fact that scores of drugs tested "safely" on animals cause serious injury and death
to human patients. The show exposed the politics behind pharmaceutical "science,"
revealing how the FDA dances to the tune of the drug industry­the country's top
grossing business sector. As Frontline discovered, the FDA's process to approve
drugs as "safe" for humans most questionably relies on the research of the drug
companies themselves. Worse still, FDA drug-reviewing whistleblowers report that the
agency often ignores, or covers up, revealed contraindications and deadly side
effects in order to give favorable reviews to drugs with large profit potential.

As groups like SHAC peer into research cages, what consistently leaps out are not
just terrified animals, but the suppressed truths of widespread governmental
corruption, the politicization of research and medicine, and the merciless
production of animal suffering and death as the foundation for medical profits. In a
situation where, according to genetic researcher Dr. Allen Roses, "The vast majority
of drugs only work in 30 or 50 percent of the people," and prescription drugs are
one of the leading causes of death, the larger agenda and significance of SHAC
becomes clear. While those who have the most to suffer financially from the
liberation of animals caricature uncompromising animal activists as lawless agents
of chaos, history will be better served when SHAC, and other outspoken critics of
the vivisection and animal cruelty industries, are portrayed as leading the fight
for animal and human rights.

The Kangaroo Courts of Capitalism



"The political motivation of these indictments should be clear...rich and
powerful people are now using their connected and influential friends...in order
to retaliate against us, and worse, to send a message to anyone else who would
dare stand in the way of speciesism." -Josh Harper, SHAC 7 defendant


"This trial is a travesty. It's a travesty of a mockery of a sham of a mockery of
a travesty of two mockeries of a sham." -Woody Allen, "Bananas"

While the Western legal system cloaks itself in the trappings of rationality and
enlightened justice, the simple truth is that law, of its own will and dynamic,
does not generally evolve in order to better accord with ethics. Rather, the
legislative system constantly changes within a contested terrain, where a wide
range of interested parties struggle for power and position. The battle over
policy is hardly evenly matched or wholly fair, for as dictated by the Golden Rule
of capitalism, those with the gold make the rules. Increasingly, the powerful
factions who drive the direction of legislation in this country are the secretive,
well-protected, massive corporate entities that Noam Chomsky characterizes as
"private tyrannies." However, activist organizations such as SHAC demonstrate
that, even in a battle with Goliath, David can win if armed with enough smarts and
determination.

The SHAC movement has been enormously effective in large part due to its strategy of
demonstrating against "tertiary targets," those companies and people that support
HLS and which help it to operate, but which are not technically themselves "animal
enterprises." As present law only allows for the prosecution of direct activists
when they physically disrupt the process of exploiting animals, the corporate-state
complex has felt the need to respond by proposing amendment of old legislation and
enactment of new laws. It is no coincidence, then, that little more than a week
before the May 26 raid on the SHAC 7, a phalanx of high-level vivisectors and animal
industry representatives marched into the Senate Committee on the Judiciary to carp
about the inadequacy of existing regulations to crush SHAC and other militant animal
rights groups.

On May 18, 2004, chair of the Judiciary Committee, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) took
opinions from U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott; the FBI deputy assistant director for
counterterrorism, John E. Lewis; William Green and Jonathan Blum, the senior vice
presidents of Chiron Corporation (a noxious puppy killer associated with HLS) and
Yum! Brands Inc. (the super-sized parent company behind most well-known fast-food
chains); and the director of the Yerkes Primate Center, Dr. Stuart Zola. One after
another, these motley billion-dollar boys shamelessly tried to cast themselves,
their colleagues, and their family members as innocent victims of animal rights
hooligans as they appealed for assistance in stopping what they claimed amounts to
"terrorism." Indeed, to listen to their combined testimony, the United States of
America is a sort of uncontrolled Baghdad or Kabul war zone, besieged by marauding
animal militias, rather than a highly centralized network of power bent on
repressing dissent and
regulating everyday life for the capital mongers.

The 2001 passage of the USA PATRIOT act and its vilification of "domestic terrorism"
was by no means the first state volley in the war against animal liberation. For
over a decade, animal exploitation industries and the state have collaborated to
create laws intended to protect corporations and researchers from animal rights
activists. In 1992, the federal government enacted the first major law designed to
strike at the freedom of protest and dissent, the Title 18 Animal Enterprise
Protection Act (AEPA), which contains subsection 43 on "animal enterprise
terrorism." The law targets anyone who "intentionally damages or causes the loss of
any property (including animals or records) used by the animal enterprise, or
conspires to do so." It also seeks to make an offender of whomever "travels in
interstate or foreign commerce, or uses or causes to be used the mail or any
facility in interstate or foreign commerce for the purpose of causing physical
disruption to the functioning of an
animal enterprise." Yet, if the corporate-state complex has its way, Sen. Hatch
will soon introduce new legislation that will make the legal right to transform the
way institutions conduct themselves --through measures such as protests,
demonstrations, and boycotts­a felony crime.

William Green of Chiron Corporation typified the whining before the Judiciary
Committee when he asked Congress to send a stronger message to animal and earth
activists and open the door to greater surveillance by federal, state, and local
officials. Even though Chiron's revenue grew to $1.8 billion in 2003, apparently the
$2.5 million in lost earnings caused by SHAC, along with the tarnishing of the
corporation's reputation, makes SHAC enough of a threat that biotechnology companies
and vivisectors want Congress to gut the Constitution to protect assumed corporate
"rights" to profit from animal cruelty and scientific fraud. Thus, Green asked
Congress to impose harsh 10-year sentences on the anti-vivisection "terrorists" and
to define "animal enterprise" in broader terms that include not only all manner of
organizations that use animals, but the non-animal enterprises that contract with
these outfits as well. Again, the reason for this is plain: To date, SHAC has
outwitted the
corporate-biased legal system by carefully utilizing the First Amendment to
coordinate economic strikes against its enemies. By avoiding tactics that center on
illegal property destruction, while instead reporting on militant actions, running
interference campaigns upon corporate communication systems with cyber-blockades,
and demanding civic accountability through organized home demonstrations, SHAC
takes full advantage of its legal rights.

Importantly, not everyone in government is moved by the hysterics of the animal
research community. The committee's minority leader, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT),
refused even to be present for this corporate conspiracy masked as a Senate hearing.
Instead, Leahy wrote a statement for the public record that vilified the
proceedings, wherein he remarked that


"most Americans would not consider the harassment of animal testing facilities to
be 'terrorism,' any more than they would consider anti-globalization protestors
or anti-war protestors or women's health activists to be terrorists."

As he wondered aloud why not a single animal rights advocate was brought before
the committee in a hearing supposedly designed to investigate "Animal Rights:
Activism vs. Criminality," Leahy also repeated his request for an oversight
hearing with Attorney General John Ashcroft, who had dodged questioning from the
Committee for over a year.

Leahy's frustration at not being able to oversee the nation's top prosecutor is
perhaps aimed at Committee Chairman Hatch, who is a sort of Dr. Evil to Ashcroft's
Mini-Me. Hatch, like Ashcroft, was a primary drafter and supporter of the PATRIOT
Act, and both have a penchant for writing nationalistic Christian music that eerily
conflates healing our land with obeying an ambiguous power that is both Christ and
Bush. But Hatch alone, the soft-spoken Mormon from the Great Salt Lake,
distinguishes himself as the pharmaceutical industry's leading spokesman in the
closed chambers of legislation. Besides operating his own "nutritional" corporation,
Pharmics, Inc., Hatch has received far and away the most money (in 2000, nearly
twice as much as the next congressperson) from an industry laden with animal
research and deeply threatened by committed animal advocates. As Chair of the
Senate's Judiciary Committee, he is well positioned to lobby for and draft statutes
specifically designed to
neutralize vitamins S, H, A, and C.

First Amendment Controversies



"Bush's War on Terrorism is no longer limited to Al Qaeda or Osama Bin Laden... The
rounding up of [SHAC] activists should set off alarms heard by every social
movement in the United States: This 'war' is about protecting corporate and
political interests under the guise of fighting terrorism." -Will Potter


"Let Freedom Ring the Doorbell!" -SHAC campaign ad

The key issue for American citizens in the indictment of the SHAC 7 concerns the
defendants' First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and association. Critics
of direct action protest, such as those who testified before the Senate Judiciary
Committee, invariably claim that they respect the right to dissent, distinguishing
"legitimate" (and easily contained) expressions of criticism and objection from
those involving alleged criminal action. In this respect, according to U.S.
Attorney Christie, the SHAC 7 defendants were "exhorting and encouraging" actions
not protected by the constitution.

The strategy of the corporate-state is to define SHAC-styled direct action as beyond
the scope of constitutional protection. They seek to narrow the meaning of the First
Amendment, and therefore to subject SHAC and other activists to an increasingly
broad scope of criminal prosecution. Key questions, then, emerge from the United
States' attempt to prosecute SHAC: Do corporations and the state, as they claim,
really respect the First Amendment and the democratic political sensibilities behind
it? Are SHAC actions legal or illegal expressions of dissent? And, if they are
illegal, do they constitute a special form of terrorism deserving of federal
injunction, or are the myriad extant laws capable of penalizing specific acts of
civil disobedience sufficient?

The latitude of the First Amendment is broad but, as is widely understood, rights
are not absolute. The First Amendment does not grant individuals unqualified freedom
to say or do anything they desire as a matter of civic right. According to classical
liberal doctrine, such as formulated by philosopher-economist J.S. Mill, liberties
extend to the point where one's freedom impinges upon the good or freedom of
another. Thus, no one has the right to injure, assault, or take the life of another
endowed with rights. That, of course, is the theory; in American political practice,
restrictions on liberty are frequently applied to consumers and citizens alike, but
rarely to corporations who­capitalizing on the predatory logic of property
rights­systematically exploit humans, animals, and the environment to their own
advantage.

While there have been some strong defenses of the First Amendment by the U.S.
Supreme Court, such as the protection of the Ku Klux Klan's use of hate speech,
there have also been severe lapses of judgment. Indeed, the entire last century is
scarred by egregious Constitutional violations, ranging from the Red Scare of the
1920s, the loyalty oaths of the 1930s, and Sen. McCarthy's witch hunts in the 1950s,
to the FBI COINTELPRO operations of the 1960s and 1970s and the passage of the USA
PATRIOT Act in 2001. U.S. history is riddled with precedents that demonstrate
systematic and sweeping violations of First Amendment rights, such that freedom of
speech is the exception, not the rule, of life in the USA.

The indictment of the SHAC 7 is just one of many clear indicators that we have
entered into yet another chilling period of social repression and the quelling of
dissent. While the media have largely focused public attention on Bush's imperial
Pax Americana, domestic police and federal agents have violently repressed
demonstrations, surveilled legal organizations, collected and disseminated
information on activists, and summoned individuals to grand juries in the attempt to
intimidate and coerce information. Within this conservative social climate, as
people are besieged by monopolistic capitalism, quasi-fascistic patriotism,
religious ranting, and cultural paranoia, the corporate-state complex is using SHAC
to launch its latest attack upon the Bill of Rights.

Put in this context, SHAC clearly is within its rights to criticize HLS, Chiron, and
other corporations for exploiting animals. As established in landmark rulings by the
Supreme Court, such as Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969), the First Amendment grants
citizens the right to free speech up to the point of advocating violence toward
others in such a way that violent actions might result as an immediate and imminent
threat of one's speech. SHAC reports on violent actions taken by individuals in
groups such as the ALF or Revolutionary Cells and it posts home addresses and
personal information of HLS employees or affiliates. But SHAC does not advocate
violence against anyone, certainly not in any manner that incites immediate and
imminent criminal actions.

Moreover, critics never trouble themselves with the crucial distinction between SHAC
USA Inc., an aboveground, legal, and non-violent organization, and "the SHAC
movement," comprised of a wide-range of activists united against HLS that sometimes
use illegal tactics and may have an underground presence. In its economically and
politically motivated confusion, the corporate-state complex has targeted SHAC USA
Inc. rather than the shadowy SHAC movement. In NAACP v. Claiborne Hardware Co.
(1982), the Supreme Court ruled that an organization cannot be held accountable for
actions of its members or followers; thus, SHAC USA Inc. is not responsible for the
actions of the SHAC movement. To make the state's case against SHAC even more
difficult, the Supreme Court ruled in 2003 that anti-abortionists had the legal
right to home demonstrations against abortion rights advocates, a decision that has
clear implications for SHAC's tactics against HLS.

Steal This System!



"Our strategy was to give Judge Hoffman a heart attack. We gave the court system
a heart attack, which is even better." -Jerry Rubin, member of the Chicago 7


"Whatever they throw at us, we just flow like a river." -Heather Avery, SHAC UK
activist

Just as the Chicago 7 represented the battle for human rights in the 1960s, so the
SHAC 7 dramatize animal rights as a key struggle of our day and as the logical
extension of modern democratic traditions. Stigmatized as "terrorists," the only
crime these activists have committed is to defend innocent animals from barbaric
exploitation and to uncompromisingly demand an end to corporate evil and
scientific fraud. Like the Chicago 7 before them, the corporate-state complex
casts the SHAC 7 as ugly hoodlums and a threat to "civilized" values, even though
in their unflinching commitment to actualize a better and more peaceable world for
humans and animals alike, these activists represent what is best about the U.S.
political system. For all those who will not rise from the couch, or even vote,
due to a long developing political cynicism, may the SHAC 7 re-ignite their hope
for progressive change. Armed with little more than a website, a bullhorn, and the
will to make a difference with
their lives, SHACtivists have leveled an industry juggernaut and sent a loud
message to every animal exploitation industry that eventually they will reap what
they sow.

These are difficult times for free speech. Bush's Terror War and its many
cheerleaders instituted a fascist mandate against dissent and political action
across the country, along with an apology for the status quo that only the most
blatant failures in the war against Iraq were able to dent. Meanwhile, conservative
outrage at media incidents such as Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" and Howard
Stern's sexual and political antics resulted in the Federal Communications
Commission imposing staggering fines for "obscenity," a move designed to send a
message that staying within the straightjacket of "free speech" is enlightened
self-interest. Undaunted by state repression, SHAC continues to hammer away at HLS
as it buttresses a sagging Constitution. Unafraid to use its grassroots power like a
weapon of mass destruction, some may find SHAC to be intimidating for no other
reason than it does the apparently unthinkable: it refuses to surrender its rights
to those so deeply mired in what
is wrong.

The point of the present indictment has less to do with a viable case against SHAC
than with sending a chilling message to anyone who dares to assert their First
Amendment rights in meaningful protest against Machiavellian powers. While SHAC has
never been the sort of outfit to "go to Washington" and plead its case amidst suits,
ties, and stars-and-stripes lapel pins, the SHAC 7 now relish the opportunity to
further expose HLS in the hypocritical halls of law.

During the greatest political trial of the 1960s, Chicago 7 members like Abbie
Hoffmann freely showed their contempt for the court through subversive comic
theater, such as when Hoffman arrived dressed in judge's robes, which he then
stomped upon. Black Panther member Bobby Seale was bound, gagged, and then tried
separately after refusing the court's right to treat him as anything but an
uncooperative prisoner of war. Meanwhile, the defense attorney, William Kunstler,
dragged the proceedings out for months by bringing a virtual "who's who" of the
counterculture into the trial to testify as witnesses against the state.

The SHAC 7 have promised no less a challenge for what will surely amount to one of
the great domestic political trials of this era. They intend to convert crisis into
opportunity by turning the tables against their accusers and exposing the real
criminals and terrorists. In a far more visible public setting than they typically
are accorded, SHAC welcomes the indictment in order to expose the heinous crimes of
HLS, the fraud of vivisection, and the corruption of the state and legal system, as
they will champion constitutional rights and the just cause of animal liberation.

Just as McDonald's foolishly took on British activists Heather Steel and Dave Morris
for the crime of exposing their lies in pamphlets, so the intimidation tactics of
HLS and the state may backfire dramatically. Ongoing waves of arrests in
Pennsylvania, California, New York, and elsewhere, in the continuing war against
HLS, demonstrate that the SHAC movement has redoubled its efforts as a blowback to
the corporate-state repression directed against it, and that HLS and the vivisection
industry may be in for a good PR bruising.

The assault on the SHAC 7 in the era of the PATRIOT Act and "domestic terrorism" is
a monumental event in the history of the animal rights movement. Let there be no
mistake: the federal prosecution of the SHAC 7 is an attack on everyone who
militates for the ideals of democracy, rights, freedom, and justice. As such, all
those fighting for progressive causes of any kind should come now to SHAC's defense.
Already, there are signs of solidarity and evidence of a wider recognition of the
significance of the SHAC 7's indictment. Animal rights activists­both critics
and supporters of SHAC­are organizing speaking tours and fundraisers to help pay
for legal expenses. Lisa Lange, communications director for PETA, told The
Star-Ledger that the SHAC 7 were "long-time activists and well-respected" as she
defended the need for militant action where legal systems are unresponsive to calls
for justice. An even more important sign, because it emerged from the social justice
community, was a
recent Z Magazine article by Will Potter that grasped the relevance of the SHAC 7
indictment for all protest movements. As Potter stated: "Their only chance is for
activists of all social movements­regardless of their political views­to
support them, and oppose the assault on basic civil liberties. Otherwise, in Bush's
America, we could all be terrorists."

It remains to be seen if activists involved in other causes will truly understand
the indictment of the SHAC 7 in its broadest social and historical context, thereby
showing solidarity with the myriad of SHACtivists and other direct action militants
on the front lines of protest, making sure that their voices are anything but a
whisper. Meanwhile, the animal liberation cause continues to grow throughout the
world, establishing itself as both an heir of the great human liberation movements
and a transcendent force that carries the fight for rights, justice, and equality
toward its logical fulfillment. The struggle for "civilization" continues.

*This article originally appeared in the August/September 2004 issue of IMPACT
Press, a nonprofit, bi-monthly, socio-political magazine that features aggressive
journalism, biting commentary and a healthy dose of satire.



---------------------------------
Dr. Steven Best is the chair of philosophy at the University of Texas at El
Paso. His new book, co-edited with Anthony J. Nocella, Terrorists or Freedom
Fighters: Reflections on the Liberation of Animals, features leading
eco-terrorists like Paul Watson, Rod Coronado, Kevin Jonas, and Ingrid Newkirk;
it promises to provoke a storm of controversy and many purchases by the FBI.

Richard Kahn is the ecopedagogy chair of the UCLA Paulo Freire Institute and
maintains the top-ranked critical ecology blog Vegan Blog: The (Eco)Logical Weblog.
His motto is "Don't Get Mad, Get Vegan!" T-shirts always available.