Monday, June 21, 2010

fur protests and freedom of expression

The fur industry has been complaining for years about the ‘unfair’ way in which they are being treated in the media. Animals supposedly are given the best care of the world and animal activists (as in we: the bad guys and gals) are a bunch of fanatics, liars and monsters that want to impose our vile will on others and take away all that is fine and good in life.
It is a sad reality that many people believe the dribble that the fur industry puts out. In the US and Canada in particular, the industry has had much success. Not so much here in Europe …. But even here they still can get away with it. And their PR-campaigns and simple populist argumentations are indeed paying off. Just take a look at Norway.
The Norwegian animal rights group Dyrs Frihet (animal’s freedom) is just one of many victims of paranoia towards animal and environmental activists.

Dyrsfrihet (in norwegian)

Oslopolitiets har nylig nyinnført et forbud både mot å ytre seg og dele ut informasjon om pels og pelsdyroppdrett. Forbudet har skapt sterke reaksjoner blant dyrevernere. Nå vurderer Amnesty hvorvidt politiets grunnlag for å begrense ytringsfriheten er lovlig.

Bottom line: The Oslo police department has made it illegal to flyer or protest fur in any way. Yes, that’s right: democracy only counts when you say what they want you to say. This is just one example of the restriction of freedom of expression that not only threatens animal/green activists, but our society itself. First it’s us, but who is it tomorrow? (reminds me of the green is the new red blog)
Amnesty International has actually decided to intervene (so yes, it’s a big deal)

according to Norwegian media:

freedom of expression

Vi mener disse bestemmelsene er såpass spesielle at vi har bedt en advokat om å se nærmere på det på bakgrunn av svaret vi fikk fra politiet, sier generalsekretær John Peder Egenæs til Lokalavisen.

Amnesty international has asked a lawyer to investigate the matter further and John Peder Egenæs of the human rights group has expressed his concern regarding our right to freedom of expression and basic democratic principles are being restrained.

The Oslo police were quite smart by the way in taking animal activists out of the picture in their city. They defended their actions by referring to protests that ‘got out of control’ and hinted that there was a threat of violence (because we all know how violent and backstabbing we are now don’t we?). They didn’t even make it literally illegal to protest fur. They just made it illegal to protest within a radius of about 150 metres of any shop that sells fur. In a country like Oslo, this means just about the entire city centre. How cute…