Will Potter

                                              Presenting a toy to Henry

Will Potter is an award-winning investigative journalist, author, and TED Senior Fellow who has reported extensively on the US Government's repressive policies and actions towards animal activists as well as the Agriculture Industry's attempts to silence individuals and discredit organizations seeking to defend animals from abuse. 

Will's book, Green Is the New Red investigates this in depth, incorporating his own experience as a target of the FBI with stories documenting the surveillance and incarceration of individuals labeled "eco-terrorists" - a term originating in the environmental activism movement and increasingly applied to animal activists, who are now described by the FBI as the #1 terrorist threat to the US, despite the movement's dominantly nonviolent nature.

I had a chance to catch up with Will in Ann Arbor, where he was teaching at the University of Michigan. Our discussion ranged from the definition of animal rights activism to current government practices that echo McCarthyist hysteria, and the role both government and corporations play in shaping legislation and public perception about the rights and interests of animals.

The Interview

Introduction and What Will Does

Responding to Government Pressure On Animal Activists

Is There a Difference Between Environmentalist and Animal Activism?

Why Is Animal Agriculture Still Omitted From the Discussion of Climate Change?

A Cultural War - Looking at the Motivations Influencing Suppression of Animal Rights Activism

The US Government’s Focus on Animal Rights Activism as Greatest Terrorist Threat to National Security

Ag Gag Laws Define the Industries that are Harming Animals as the Victim

A Tipping Point for Sustaining Life 

Why Will’s Interest in Animal Rights Took Root

Connecting Animal Rights to Terrorism after 911 and a History of Repressions of Social Movements

Animal Rights As New Type of Movement Representing Victims Who Cannot Speak For Themselves

Animal Rights as Part of the Larger Social Justice Movements

The Meaning of Green Is the New Red

What Does the Label "Animal Rights Activist" Mean?

Will’s Path to Becoming An Activist and Investigative Journalist After a Confrontation with the FBI

Environmentalists Acknowledging the Damage of Animal Agriculture

The Impact of the US Government Labeling Animal Rights Groups as “Terrorist”

How Agencies Legislators and Industries are Acting to Silence Animal Activism

Is There a Place for Consuming Products From Small Family Farms?

Will’s Process of Investigative Journalism 

A Manufactured Threat of “EcoTerrorist” 

Is the Will Of the People for Animals Represented By the Actions of Our Government? 

The Consequences and Inspirations Produced By Work That Confronts Dark Realities

The Idea of Granting Legal “Personhood” Status for Animals