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An article in yesterday’s Okeechobee News left us scratching our heads. On Wednesday, a “mock terrorist attack” in the city brought together the sheriff, police and fire departments, a local hospital and the Red Cross.

Here was the scenario, according to the paper: “A group of local citizens were invited to attend the ground breaking of a new business coming into Okeechobee that used alligator skins in their products. Animal rights groups were against the construction of a building to be used by this company. As a result, a bomb went off and those in attendance sustained various degrees of injuries.”

Of course, it is important for communities to conduct disaster exercises, but why did animal advocates have to be the bad guys? The mock disaster contributed to an inaccurate image of the animal rights movement as violence-prone. Accusations of “terrorism” have often been used in order to stifle and criminalize debate about animal issues. The truth is that the animal rights movement in America has never harmed a person.

The mock disaster was developed for the City of Okeechobee by an Ocala-based company, Emergency Response Educators and Consultants, Inc. Please contact the company and ask them not to make animal rights activists the villains in future drills.
E-mail Address: info@erecinc.com

Also, please consider writing a letter to The Okeechobee News to explain that the animal rights movement is a non-violent and compassionate movement.

Send letters to the editor at: okeenews@okeechobee.com

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