As many of you probably heard, Dr. George Tiller, a doctor that performed late-term abortions was murdered at his church this past Sunday.
Any death is tragic, and this one also serves as a reminder of the “special” legal hurdles faced by animal rights activists. The man that shot and killed the doctor was not called a terrorist by the government or by the media, even though the action he carried out was based on his religious and philosophical views. The man is an extremist. He is part of a group that fights in behalf of the voiceless and the anti-abortionist movement as a whole professes to value all human life.
Animal rights activists are often compared to anti-abortion activists , and we do have many similarities to the Anti-Abortionist movement. We both proclaim to value life, we both conduct protests and we have been known to label members of the opposition “murderers”. It is worth noting however, that 4 people have been killed by anti-abortion activists, while zero people have been killed by animal rights activists.
The government however, treats us differently. If an animal rights activists commits an action in the name of Animal Liberation, we are automatically labelled terrorists. Anti-abortionists are not. They are only prosecuted based on their crime, not on their ethical, religious or philosophical views. The man that murdered Dr. Tiller will be charged with murder, not terrorism. He will not be tried in Federal Court, and it is unlikely that he will receive a special sentence.
This double-standard treatment is unfair, but this should be nothing new to us. Animal rights activists are fighting against unequal standards every day. Dogs are given more protection that pigs, cows more protection that chickens. Any cute animal has more advocates that the less visually appealing. We should not let the injustice that we face at the hands of the legal system deter us.
We must keep fighting on behalf of the voiceless, for the obstacles that we face, are nothing compared to the injustices faced by the animals.