Society

Animal Rights Activists Accused of Freeing Minks, Get Charged With Terrorism

| by Michael Allen

Tyler Lang and Kevin Johnson, both animals rights activists, have been hit with federal terrorism charges for allegedly releasing 2,000 minks from an Illinois mink farm on Aug. 14, 2013.

WLSAM.com reports that Lang and Johnson allegedly removed portions of a fence surrounding the mink farm to allow the animals to escape, painted a barn with the words “Liberation is Love” and damaged the paint on two farm vehicles.

According to FireDogLake.com, a grand jury indicted the two under the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA), even though there were no actual acts of terrorism mentioned in the charges.

A press release by the U.S. Justice Department announces the indictment, bout doesn't mention the AETA. The grand jury indictment mentions the laws [Title 18, United States Code, Sections 43(a) and 43(b)] that were allegedly broken, but not the AETA.

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However, Title 18, United States Code, Sections 43(a) and 43(b) are the AETA.

After Lang was arrested outside a Los Angeles restaurant yesterday, the federal government wanted his bail to be $30,000, which was way above the $10,000 recommended by pre-trial services.

“He has plans to travel the country for what he calls non-profit work, but what the government calls violent civil disobedience,” the federal prosecutor claimed.

According to GreenistheNewRed.com, Lang was planning with other volunteers to protest airlines that transport monkeys for animal experimentation.

Johnson, also known as “Kevin Olliff,” is currently serving 30 months in an Woodford, Ill., jail for having boltcutters in his Prius on Aug. 15, 2013.

Vice.com reported last year that Lang and Johnson were pulled over in Illinois for having “temporary dealer plates” on a “brand-new green Prius."

During a search of the car, cops found bolt cutters and and wire cutters. 

Johnson and Lang were charged with a felony of “possession of burglary tools,” but no fur farm crimes at the time. Johnson got 30 months in jail, while Lang was freed after agreeing to a plea deal.

“In 2006, under heavy lobbying from the pharmaceutical, animal agriculture and fur industries, Congress passed [AETA],” animal activist Ryan Shapiro told FireDogLake.com. “The AETA is designer legislation that targets political dissent directed at any business that uses or sells animals or animal products, or any company ‘connected to’ such ‘animal enterprises.’"

"Simply hurting the profits of these businesses, by, for example, producing and screening a film that inspires people to boycott foie gras or other animal products, qualifies as a terrorist offense. Indeed, a distressingly high number of my closest friends have been convicted as terrorists for engaging in free speech and civil disobedience advocacy on behalf of animals,” claimed Shapiro.

Sources: WLSAM.com, FireDogLake.com, U.S. Justice Department, GreenistheNewRed.com, Vice.com(Image Credit: felixd)