<$BlogRSDUrl$> The Cyberactivist

Behind the scenes of the fight for the protection of animals and workers and the preservation of the environment - my experiences as a Tyson slaughterhouse hanger/killer turned activist. Exposing the evils of factory farming, by Virgil Butler. If you have arrived here looking for the Tyson stories, view the early archives. Some of them are now featured on the sidebar for easy searching.

Monday, August 21, 2006

"Ecoterrorist" or Activist? 

Unless you have been under a rock, you have heard of the term "ecoterrorist," seen how much it is flying around these days, and how many people are being accused of being one. Even I have been. Yep. Little ol' me - out here in the woods, hurting no one. Just rescuing animals and speaking my mind - telling ugly truths about those who would wish I would just finally shut up, once and for all.

What's funny (NOT!) is that there was a time that I really and truly WAS a dangerous criminal, and even a killer, but not anymore. I am so damned peaceful that I don't even eat animals that OTHER people have killed! I have actually changed so much that it has apparently manifested physically so much so that people who have known me for years don't recognize me when they see me again for the first time in a long time. Quite a few people have just blankly looked at me when I say "hi" to them, even though they knew me for a long, long time. So, it seems that more than just my mind and spirit have changed - my physical appearance seems to have changed as well. Laura says that she can see it, too, though, mostly in my eyes - that they aren't dead anymore. I know that she has helped me open a part of me that I had closed off a long time ago - my heart. As much as it hurt to do it, I have opened it again and experienced emotions - some hurtful, but mostly just loving and caring ones. I have had more than enough of violence and killing, thank you very much. And, NOW that I have changed my life, been living right, and haven't hurt a soul, NOW is when I am harassed and attacked by the law the most!

Well, a friend forwarded a link to me that I want to share with you. http://www.greenisthenewred.com/

I don't think I should have to say anything else. He says it all.

Keep fighting for those who can't and don't ever - EVER - give up!

Might DOES NOT make right.

Love and light do.

One tiny candle conquers a whole LOT of darkness.....

Keep on lighting them, folks.

I will, too.
Its cute how you try and make this so black and white. Let me ask you something. As a PETA member:

do you:

Have joint membership in the ELF/ALF?
Associate with the ELF/ALF?
Fund the ELF/ALF?
Condone their activities?

If you answer yes to any of the above, then yes, sir, you are an ecoterrorist
Let me address these questions, not that it should matter much what I believe, as I am entitled to my opinions as a basic human right, just as you are yours, without branding me or you a "terrorist" for thinking them.

First of all, your statement: "As a PETA member"

I am not a member of PETA (never have been, either) - I have only worked with them, just as I have many other groups and individual activists. This doesn't even only include animal-related organizations, but also those who fight for the environment, human rights and worker safety, food safety, etc. All I do is to educate people when they want to know something. No more - no less. But, even if I was a formal PETA member, that still wouldn't automatically make me an "ecoterrorist."

"do you:

Have joint membership in the ELF/ALF?"

I have no membership, joint or otherwise, with ANY group other than Warm Hearts Humane Society, which is a local non-profit group in this county that rescues, rehabilitates, fosters, spays/neuters, and finds homes for animals. There are also animal cruelty investigations done by the group because the local police lack the manpower - we are a VERY rural poor county, and don't even have an animal officer, a shelter, or even much in the way of funding, but we do our best to help as many animals as we possibly can.
Right now, the rescues we have here are a mother cat and her 3 kittens, 2 more she adopted, but are 6 weeks older than hers are, a little dog with red mange dumped on our road we have been treating and has gotten better, growing back most of his hair now, and one rescued chicken as well. (We have a few more chickens, but only one hen left, Mabel, who was an actual rescue - they are all getting old now and slowly passing on. The rest, I say "we" have, but Laura's mother actually got them even though we have taken care of them."We" usually means the entire family group here - 4 generations of Laura's family live here, but mostly, "we" refers to Laura, her mother, and me because none of us eats meat.) For a look at the other rescues we have taken in before even joining this group, as well as the fosters we took in from this group and one other, just look back around last September, then keep going back and back and back. Laura took in her first rescue - a little kitten - when she was 9 years old (though, of course, that picture isn't up here). Yeah, big terrorist.

"Associate with the ELF/ALF?"

I don't have any idea of knowing who writes me - you could be one of them for all I know. But, am a part of a "cell?" Are you kidding? I live in rural Arkansas. No. I just talk and answer a lot of questions. People are quite ignorant of where their food comes from.

"Fund the ELF/ALF?"

Yeah, right. With what money? Obviously, you haven't read anything at all of this blog. I haven't worked a steady job since leaving Tyson 11-12-02, as I am pretty much blacklisted and now hurt so badly that I physically can't work. I try and gather donations to help me save animals - I don't give donations away, as I have nothing to give.

"Condone their activities?"

Now, that would depend on the "activities" you refer to. That is a very broad term. I believe in protesting what you believe to be wrong and standing up and speaking out for what you believe in. I also believe that violence begets violence and that many of the actions people who label themselves as members of these groups have taken are making it easier for laws to be made that erode upon our civil liberties (not that this is necessarily their fault - the administration has been looking for an excuse for some time). And I would certainly say that there are many right-wing groups who have even committed murder that are not targeted or even mentioned when the "T" word is used, much less actually personally labeled "terrorists" or gone after with such zeal, whereas peaceful people who are simply protesting what they see as wrong, but commit no violent action, ARE.

Your questions do not matter anyway as far as this issue goes. What group I am a member of, what I think, who I associate with, etc., have nothing to do with any of it. What matters is that our civil liberties that generations of my family fought - some of whom died for (and I am hardly the only one who has had family who served, served myself, or had anyone die for the freedoms we hold dear) - are being lost.

The 1st Amendment, among other civil rights our forefathers fought for, is being trampled upon in the name of corporate greed. THAT is the issue here.

That is wrong, and I intend t speak out against that, too. Just as I plan to continue to speak out against the abuse of animals and tell people exactly what happens behind those closed doors of slaughterhouses when they write me and ask. Do they not deserve to know? How can you possibly make informed choices about what you buy or support without someone sharing such information if they know it and you do not?

I answer questions and shine the spotlight on ugly truths that the factory farming industry would rather that the pubic did not know.

I should NOT be labeled an "ecoterrorist" for doing so. And neither should many others who have never hurt anyone except a corporation's bottom line when speaking out about said corporation when they do something that the public disapproves of, and the corporation wishes no one knew about because of that fact. I really and truly do NOT see THAT as "terrorism." I believe it used to be called "whistle-blowing," and the person was protected and applauded for speaking out, not targeted and smeared, much less jailed.

Do you understand a little better about what we are talking about here? Should I be jailed if a certain percentage of people quit buying Tyson chicken and they lose some money over it because of what those people read about on this site and simply because people decided not to support such unethical behavior and either quit eating chicken altogether or started buying it from someone else? Does that REALLY make me a "terrorist?"

I think not.
I was accusing you as much as responding to your question. My answer is, if you condone, fund or partake in ELF/ALF related acts of property damage, regardless of human injury, you have parallels to people funding Hamas, etc, and I don't sympathize.

Believing in something is one thing, acting to "terrorize" someone; (burning down new housing, SUVS, ski resorts), is something else.
Now it is even more obvious that you have not taken the time to read this blog. If you had, you never would have "accused me" of "acting to 'terrorize' someone; (burning down new housing, SUVS, ski resorts)" or anything of the kind.

You shouldn't just assume that ALL activists are automatically "terrorists" just like the government and industry want you to. You are letting them control your thoughts and lump together a very, VERY diverse group of people when you do that. You know, there is quite a wide array of people who are against abusing animals.
For me, it isn't even JUST about the animals - I am opposed to the entire factory farming industry, not only for the way they abuse and in some cases, even outright torture, the animals, but also for the way they abuse the environment, their own workers, their lax safety standards, the fact that much of the way they do business contaminates the food the sell and makes millions of people sick every year, killing around 5100 of them - mostly children. I am against them for shutting down family farms and running people off of their land, and even taking it away from them if they want to, since people are forced to put up their land for the collateral to build the growout houses and keep them upgraded as the company requires. Quite a few families have lost all that they had - land that had been in the family for generations, with some of the growers going so far as to commit suicide over it.

You have to understand that I am not your everyday activist. I am someone who was a part of it all for way too many years (and is still surrounded by it, with friends, and even family, still working at that last plant I worked at) and sees firsthand the effects it has on everyone it touches. Until I saw the light, that is, and then blew the whistle and started talking publicly about what I had personally seen and been a part of. Oh, part of me always knew it was wrong, but you can justify lots of things when you are just trying to survive and there are very few jobs around that are steady.

Why don't you bother to take the time to actually try to get to know what kind of a person someone is before you start throwing around accusations of "terrorism?"

There is certainly a wealth of information on me in many places (not just here) if you had bothered to take the time to look. I have a feeling that you never bothered to read or look at anything else about me but that one post before making your assumption and accusation.

Face the facts - I spoke out against something I believed to be wrong (again - I have a habit of doing that, and it IS still a protected freedom last I checked), and you just jumped to conclusions and assumptions about me based on that one fact and that were totally off-base, unsupported by evidence, and you were totally and utterly wrong.
Well, frankly because it would cause me a migraine.
Obviously your anonymous critic has no concept of reality. "Uh, well, actually...I haven't read your blog...because it would bug me...which is why I know you're a terrorist." Uh huh. Listen, anonymous hero, we aren't stupid--we know that if someone participates in or helps to fund the activities of a terrorist group, that person IS a terrorist. We don't do those things, therefore WE ARE NOT TERRORISTS. Duh. Seriously, why not read more than one entry in this blog before freaking out? I understand your being angry but I don't think you have much of a concept of what animal rights (or in particular, this blog) is about.

Having read your blog for some time, Virgil, I know that you are NOT a terrorist in any sense of the word. Like most vegans and animal lovers, you are peaceful and want the best for all living things, and that includes people.
Thank you Virgil, you are an inspiration. I check back every few months to get caught up with what you post here, and am humbled by your compassion.
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