Report to Congress on the Extent and Effects of Domestic and International Terrorism on Animal Enterprises
This report was prepared for Congress by the U.S. Department of Justice in response to rising complaints of incidents of terrorism against people involved in animal-based industries. FCUSA would like to thank the Ecoterror Response Network for the HTML code for this document : Web editor.
In a war you have to take up arms and people will get killed, and I can support that kind of action by petrol bombing and bombs under cars, and probably at a later stage, the shooting of vivisectors on their doorsteps. It’s a war, and there’s no other way you can stop vivisectors.
Tim Daley, British Animal Liberation Front Leader
The Animal Enterprise Protection Act of 1992 and Mandated Report
The Animal Enterprise Protection Act, enacted into law on August 26, 1992 and codified as 18 U.S.C. ¤ 43, makes it a federal offense, punishable by fine and/or imprisonment for up to one year, to cause physical disruption to the functioning of an animal enterprise resulting in economic damage exceeding $10,000. The Act also imposes sentences of up to 10 years or life imprisonment, respectively, on persons causing the serious bodily injury or death of another person during the course of such an offense.
Congress passed the Animal Enterprise Protection Act in response to concerns about what was perceived by many to be the rapidly expanding use of violence and other disruptive expressions of extremism on behalf of animal rights. Indeed, since the early 1980s, a broad range of enterprises, in both public and private sectors, that use or market animals or animal-derived products in their commercial or professional operations, have been targeted by radical elements within the animal rights movement with acts of disruption, vandalism, and in many cases physical destruction. In enacting the Animal Enterprise Protection Act, Congress sought both to punish those who engage in acts of terrorism against animal enterprises and to deter others from doing the same.
In view of these objectives, the Act directs the Attorney General and the Secretary of Agriculture to conduct jointly a study on the extent and effects of domestic and international terrorism on enterprises using animals for food or fiber production, agriculture, research, or testing, and report the results of the study to Congress within a year of the Act’s passage. In compliance with this mandate, the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice (DOJ), with the assistance of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the Department of Agriculture (USDA), conducted a study of animal rights extremism in the United States and abroad. The following report conveys the findings of this study.
Methodology Employed in Conducting Study
The goal of this study was to present information that describes as accurately as possible the extent and effects of animal rights terrorism, as well as how it has changed or evolved over the years. Consequently, this report employs a broad, inclusive view of animal rights terrorism, expanding upon but never neglecting the criteria that form the basis of the Animal Enterprise Protection Act. In this regard, it is important to note that:
- The Enterprise Act defines the term “animal enterprise” as: 1) a commercial or academic enterprise that uses animals for food or fiber production, agriculture, research, or testing; 2) a zoo, aquarium, circus, rodeo, or lawful competitive animal event; or 3) any fair or similar event intended to advance agricultural arts and sciences. Using these categories as a starting point, this report considers as an animal enterprise any private or public enterprise, or individual working on account thereof, that produces, uses, or markets animals or animal-derived products. During the course of this study, 28 different types of enterprises or entities, most relating to those categories specified in the Act, were documented as having been victimized by animal rights extremists with acts of disruption or destruction.
- While the Act characterizes terrorism as physical disruption caused to the functioning of an animal enterprise (including stealing, damaging, or causing the loss of property), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) defines terrorism as “the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.” [1: See “Terrorism in the United States: 1990,” published by the FBI’s Terrorist Research and Analytical Center, Counterterrorism Section, Criminal Investigative Division.] This report considers a wider range of activities than is covered by either the Act or FBI’s definition of terrorism. It takes as its focus of analysis the more inclusive issue of animal rights “extremism,” which includes actual or attempted actions of theft, vandalism, violence, disruption, or destruction. In all, this study identified 16 categories of animal rights extremist activities.
- Although Congress did not enact the Animal Enterprise Protection Act until 1992, incidents attributable to animal rights extremism were first documented 15 years earlier. In order to accurately reflect the full extent of this activity, this report uses as its chronological frame of reference the period 1977 (when the first incident was recorded) through June 30, 1993.
The sources of the statistical, historical, and other information analyzed and presented in this study varied considerably. In order to present as reliable a profile of animal rights extremism as possible, representatives from entities that have been victimized by animal rights extremists, including government agencies, private industry, and organizations representing the interests of targeted industries or professions, were interviewed. Officials from law enforcement agencies also were interviewed. All, without exception, were forthcoming with their views and perspectives, as well as with statistical and anecdotal data.
The information derived from these sources provides the basis of the analyses and conclusions presented in this report. We believe that the enthusiastic response to our study is a clear indicator of how serious targeted enterprises and individuals alike consider the threat posed by animal rights extremism to their livelihood and well-being.
The Animal Rights Movement And Animal Rights Extremism In the United States
The Animal Rights Movement in Perspective: From Animal Welfare to Animal Rights
Organized concern for the plight of animals dates back to early 19th century England, just as great advances were being made in applied biomedical research. As the use of animals in research and industry became more commonplace, groups such as the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection, and the National Anti-Vivisection Society were formed to promote animal welfare. Equipped with these examples, similar groups began to appear in the United States toward the end of the century. Among these were the American Humane Association, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and the American Anti-Vivisection Society. Most of these original animal welfare societies, many of which still exist, did not seek to end animal research or other uses of animals, per se, but rather to work within established legal channels to ensure that laboratory and other animals were treated humanely. The tactics for achieving this goal were, and in most instances continue to be, nonviolent and lawful, confined to lobbying government and other public institutions, launching demonstrations and protests, and sponsoring public education campaigns.
The animal welfare movement’s early efforts resulted in protective laws, first in the United Kingdom and later in the United States, that placed increasingly rigorous restrictions and standards on the treatment of animals used for commercial or scientific purposes. In 1873, the United States Congress enacted the first federal legislation pertaining to animal welfare in the form of the “28-hour law,” which required that animals be properly rested, watered, and fed while in interstate transportation. In 1958, Congress passed the Humane Slaughter Act, which required meat packers selling to the U.S. Government to provide anesthetization or stunning prior to slaughter. These laws were followed by the Laboratory Animal Welfare Act in 1966, the Endangered Species Act in 1969, and the Animal Welfare Act in 1970, as well as a series of subsequent amendments strengthening these and other animal welfare-related statutes.
By the early 1970s, the animal welfare movements in the United Kingdom and the United States were being dramatically transformed by the emergence of an “animal rights” agenda. With the publication of such works as the anthology Animals, Men and Morals, Richard Ryder’s Victims of Science, and, most influentially, Peter Singer’s Animal Liberation: A New Ethic for Our Treatment of Animals,concern for protecting animal welfare became eclipsed by the philosophical imperative that animals, like humans, possess certain fundamental and inalienable rights, and therefore should be treated as equals. Often comparing the use of animals in research and industry to slavery and the Holocaust, many advocates of animal rights oppose all ways in which animals are confined and utilized by humans, whether it be for food, clothing, servitude, or household pets.
The cause of animal rights soon became a mainstream “single issue” movement, in some instances competing for or displacing the agenda of traditional animal welfare societies and in others fueling the proliferation of new organizations. In the United States, the most prominent among the new organizations was the non-profit People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), established in 1982 and which, in just over 10 years, has gained a membership of over 350,000. By some estimates, in the United States there currently are as many as 7,000 animal protection groups, of varying sizes, interests, and objectives.
The Emergence of Extremism Within the Animal Rights Movement
Like the traditional animal welfare movements, most modern animal rights advocacy organizations do not openly condone the use of violence or other unlawful means to further their agenda. With the advent and propagation of the animal rights philosophy, however, came a radical fringe element willing to employ more direct measures to fulfill the objectives of the movement. Calling themselves animal “liberationists” or “liberators,” animal rights extremists radically shifted the tone of the dialogue between the animal rights movement and animal users. Frustrated with what they considered to be the insufficient pace of change as effected by legal, peaceful tactics, this emerging element diverged from the mainstream movement, went underground, and began to victimize animal enterprises with acts of violence, intimidation, theft, and property destruction.
As with most earlier developments relating to animal welfare, the origins of extremism as a means for promoting animal rights lay in the United Kingdom. The British organization believed to have initiated the trend toward “direct action” within the animal rights movement was the Hunt Saboteurs Association (HSA). Established in 1962 and still active today, the HSA introduced the “hunt sab” tactic, or the act of mounting sabotage raids aimed at disrupting fox hunts by harassing the hunters and distracting the hounds. In 1972, believing that HSA Tactics were insufficient, two of the group’s members-Ronnie Lee and Cliff Goodman-founded the Band of Mercy (after a 19th Century anti-vivisection group of the same name) as an instrument for attacking hunters more directly. The Band of Mercy proceeded to do just that, by vandalizing hunters’ vehicles and equipment. The group soon expanded its array of targets, however, to include animal research laboratories, food production facilities, and other enterprises using or marketing animals in any way. Under Lee’s leadership, the Band of Mercy also escalated its level of violence and destruction, progressing from (but never abandoning) animal theft and vandalism to arson as its preferred means of destruction.
In 1975 Ronnie Lee was arrested in the United Kingdom for attempting to firebomb an animal research facility and was sentenced to three years of imprisonment. After being released on parole joined with a number of supporters to form the Animal Liberation Front (ALF). The Animal Liberation Front is a militant, underground group dedicated to the liberation of all animals from “exploitation” by humans. From the outset, ALF characterized its policy as “non-violent direct action.” From the group’s viewpoint, however, an act entailing the disruption or destruction of an animal enterprise normally is not described as “violent,” as it is perpetrated against an inanimate object. In describing ALF’s position toward animal enterprises, Lee defined the group’s objectives as follows:
- to save animals from suffering here and now. To inflict economic loss on people who exploit animals, resulting in less profit for them to plough back into their animal exploitation business; and
- to escalate events to a point where all of these industries are under threat and can’t operate.
These words quickly proved to be more than rhetoric. Immediately following its formation, ALF Began actively exercising this technique of “economic sabotage” in the United Kingdom, victimizing a wide array of enterprises using or marketing animals and inflicting damage reaching into the millions of pounds. It should be emphasized that, like the Band of Mercy before it, ALF escalated its level of violence throughout the 1980s. While reserving petty vandalism, such as graffiti and broken windows, for “low impact” targets, ALF became increasingly willing to employ more sophisticated methods of inflicting damage including, most notably, incendiary and electrical bombing. In pursuing this course, the group appears to have been intentionally following the tactical example established by the Irish Republican Army.
By the early 1980s, in the United States, incidents involving the theft or release of animals and vandalism were being Claimed by the Animal Liberation Front. Although the exact circumstances surrounding ALF’s appearance in the United States remain a matter of speculation, it is apparent that the emergence of ALF activity in the U.S. coincided directly with the popularization of the modern animal rights movement and the formation of its advocacy organizations. It is not entirely clear whether ALF took root in the U.S. as a transplanted organization or simply as a cause adopted and emulated by frustrated activists. No evidence has been uncovered to suggest that ALF in the U.S. is, beyond its origins, connected either operationally or financially to ALF in the United Kingdom. [2: It has been observed, however, the some prominent activists within the animal rights movement in the United States are, or at one time were, British subjects. Some even suspect that ALF in the United Kingdom operates “training camps” for activists from the United States and other countries. This suspicion has never been substantiated.] Despite this apparent separation, however, it can be observed that ALF in the United States has followed organizational and operational patterns established in the United Kingdom, escalating quickly in both activity and technique, while maintaining the same central objective. In both countries, ALF continues to be the most active underground animal rights group.
According to a flyer published on behalf of the Animal Liberation Front in the United States, ALF’s goals can be summarized as follows:
- to liberate animals from places of abuse and place them in good homes where they can live out their natural lives free from suffering;
- to inflict economic damage upon those who profit from the misery and exploitation of animals; and,
- to reveal the horrors and atrocities committed against animals behind locked doors.
As this report will demonstrate, ALF and other militant animal rights groups in the United States have pursued these objectives in the tradition of their counterparts in the United Kingdom. The following sections examine in detail the characteristics and activities of these groups as they have come to manifest themselves in the United States since their initial appearance.
Profile of Animal Rights Extremism: Organizational and Operational Characteristics
In the United States as in the United Kingdom, ALF and other groups involved in animal rights extremism are clandestine in operation, amorphous in organization and membership, and, somewhat ironically, expertly skilled in public relations. These characteristics have allowed extremist animal rights groups to successfully evade detection and prosecution as well as garner some public sympathy, which in turn has emboldened them further to expand their list of victims and escalate their means of violence and destruction.
Whether ALF in the United States can be characterized as an organization, per se, or as an “umbrella’ ideology or cause, is an issue still being debated. Regardless of how it may be characterized as a whole, it is widely believed that ALF is a loose configuration of small, autonomous “cells,” with no centralized command structure. It is also believed that there are no formal membership requirements beyond the willingness to inflict damage upon an animal enterprise. Some contend that ALF founder Ronnie Lee deliberately fashioned this cellular structure after 19th century English anarchist groups in order to allow small groups of people to operate covertly with minimal risk of compromising the larger movement. By some accounts, this strategy to compartmentalize the group’s activities has proven more successful in the United States, with its large territory and population, than in the much smaller United Kingdom. In each country, ALF, in whatever form it takes, is believed to be composed of one hundred or fewer “hard core” members; i.e., activists who actually are willing to perpetrate violence or destruction on behalf of their cause. More numerous are those activists or sympathizers who are willing to engage in less destructive activities. Some even suspect that, as a tactic of evading detection, ALF’s hard core membership hires individuals-especially youths-otherwise not actively affiliated with the cause to perpetrate certain illicit acts. This suspicion, however, could not be substantiated.
The Animal Liberation Front’s operational style is as distinctive as its manner of organization, leaving in its wake what practitioners have come to regard as the “ALF signature.” Always striking under cover of night, ALF activists, concealing their identities with ski masks, victimize major targets with evident forethought and precision. It is widely believed within law enforcement, academic, and industry circles alike that ALF activists conduct careful surveillance of a selected target before victimizing it. Animal Liberation Front activists often accomplish this, it is further alleged, by infiltrating selected targets, either by gaining employment in the enterprise or by cultivating close contacts with employees having ready access to the facility. This tactic serves two purposes. First, it provides the activist opportunity to develop an intimate familiarity with the structure to be targeted. During raids, this knowledge is used to circumvent security systems and identify specific targets – such as animal quarters or laboratory equipment-for theft or destruction. Second, ALF activists are known to use this pre-raid access to document cases of alleged animal abuse for use in justifying an attack after it takes place. It also has been observed that extremist animal rights-related activity involving ALF or other groups often occurs on weekends, preferably long holiday weekends, when activity in and around the targeted enterprise is low and its surroundings quiet.
Obviously, the Animal Liberation Front’s organizational and operational patterns do not lend themselves to an ability to access or manipulate public opinion, which is integral to its ability to garner sympathy for its cause and raise funds for its operations. To compensate for this inconsistency, ALF and other underground direct action groups in the U.S. and U.K. alike are suspected of maintaining connections with legitimate, above-ground animal rights advocacy groups. The U.K.’s Hunt Saboteurs Association is believed to have originated this pattern of working through spokespersons or organizations that serve to publicize, and in some cases purportedly fund, the activities of the underground group. In the United States, most notably, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals traditionally has publicized ALF activities soon after their occurrence. [3: Though never publicly condoning ALF’s illegal activities, PETA representatives almost always voice support for the motive or principle underlying any given incident.] This often includes releasing videotape footage taken by ALF activists during the course of a raid on an enterprise. In addition, in both countries there are above-ground “ALF Support Groups” that boast large memberships of sympathizers willing to support ALF’s cause through legal means, such as funding defense-related litigation and arranging for publicity. In the United States, the Animal Liberation Front Support Group claims a membership of 10,000. Although various members of these support groups have been questioned in connection with certain major incidents, none of the groups or their members have ever been charged with complicity in any illegal animal rights-related action.
It is important to note within this context that individuals or groups that operate under other names (see Appendix I) are believed to be associated by membership or leadership with the Animal Liberation Front. In fact, ALF activists are believed to use alternative group titles as another tactic of evading detection, often alternating names according to the severity of the activity. Dub the course of this study, no information arose to suggest that any of these groups operated fully independently of, or in competition or conflict with, the Animal Liberation Front. The most prominent and violent of these counterpart groups is the Animal Rights Militia, which has claimed responsibility for acts in the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada. The newest name to arise in connection with extremist animal rights activity is the Animal Liberation Action Foundation, which was not observed as claiming responsibility for acts until 1993. In all, 23 different entities were documented as having claimed responsibility for violent or disruptive acts against animal enterprises in the United States since l977.
The operational relationship between extremist animal rights groups such as ALF and radical environmental groups has not been definitively determined. Both groups undoubtedly share a belief in direct action tactics, and are believed by many to maintain interlocking contacts among their leadership and membership networks. According to available information, however, in only two extremist incidents involving an animal enterprise has an environmental advocacy group claimed responsibility. [4: In January 1989, the Dixon Livestock Building in Dixon, California was set on fire, resulting in damage estimated at $250,000. The radical environmental advocacy group Earth First! claimed responsibility for this incident and for painting the slogan “Agribusiness Kills” on the California Cattleman’s Association building in Sacramento.]
Extent of Animal Rights Extremism in the United States
Throughout the 1980s, fueled by a desire to achieve more tangible results and encouraged by confrontational publications such as A Declaration of War: Killing People to Save Animals and the Environment, [5: Published in 1991 under the pseudonym “Screaming Wolf,” A Declaration of War is an inflammatory “call to arms” for animal liberationists. In extremely confrontational terms, the book encourages an escalation of violence and sabotage against animal enterprises, and, especially, individuals.] the frequency and severity of extremist animal rights-related activity in the United States expanded significantly. According to the data examined, between 1977 and June 30, 1993, the Animal Liberation Front and other extremist animal rights groups were documented as having perpetrated 313 individual acts, varying widely in nature and scope, against enterprises or individuals using or marketing animals or animal-derived products. Approximately 60% of the total incidents documented were claimed by ALF. The following is a numerical analysis of this activity. The analysis is based on data compiled by numerous law enforcement, government, professional/trade association, and private industry sources analyzed by the authors of this study. [6: It should be noted that this data, by the acknowledgement of the numerous entities that provided it, was derived and compiled primarily on the basis of news media reports, often with confirmation from law enforcement authorities or the targeted enterprise or industry. As of the completion of this study, there was no federal or otherwise central independent authority for regularly monitoring animal rights-related extremist activity in the United States.] It should be emphasized that the data presented here is based on an aggregation of reported or documented cases only, and does not necessarily represent the entire universe of extremist acts perpetrated on behalf of the animal rights cause. [7: In fact, it is generally believed that many animal rights-related incidents-especially those involving relatively minor acts of vandalism such as graffiti-go unreported, and therefore are numerically underestimated is this analysis.]
On the basis of this information, it was possible to identify a number of important factors and trends that characterize animal rights extremist activity in the United States since the first incident was documented in 1977. These patterns, illustrated in the following charts and analyzed in detail brow, are, if considered in combination, critical to an effective legislative and law enforcement response to animal enterprise terrorism.
Types of Enterprises Victimized
During the period 1977 – June 1993. a total of 28 different types of animal enterprises were victimized by animal rights extremists. University facilities-primarily research laboratories in which animals were maintained for testing-were victimized most frequently. Universities were followed, in order of frequency, by fur retailers, individuals, and the food production and retail industries. The chart on the following page and the table below illustrate the frequency (and percentage of total documented incidents) at which targeted enterprises and individuals have been victimized during the period.
Generally speaking, ALF and other animal rights extremists tend to target animal enterprises that are easy to infiltrate and access, are readily visible to news media, and can generate maximum public sympathy. They also tend to select enterprises whose employees tend to avoid publicity and who are least prepared to defend themselves or their use of animals before the public. As this study demonstrates, since the inception of animal rights extremism in the United Kingdom and the United States, the biomedical research community has most closely fit these criteria. Assuming that the biomedical research community encompasses Universities, federal and private research facilities, and individual researchers, this category represents 135, or 43% of the 313 documented incidents. Taken together, the biomedical research community, the food industry (food production and retail), and the fur retail industry (department stores included), [8: As it was not possible to determine conclusively from documented cases whether department stores were targeted for their fur or leather sales, or both, these stores were factored out of the fur retail category. As most anecdotal data suggests that the vast majority of victimized department stores were targeted for their fur sales, however, these incidents can be added back to the fur retail category for a view of the wider impact of animal rights activity on the fur industry. When this is done, 60, or 19% of all documented incidents involved the fur industry. Because this figure is based on the number of documented incidents only, it may be an underestimation. According to a recent industry-sponsored survey of fur retailers, for example, 43% of the 1,500 fur retailers in the United States reported that they had been victimized by animal rights activism in some way just within the past year. Because individual fur retailers, like other animal enterprises, often prefer to avoid the potential consequences of publicity, many incidents go unreported and therefore would not be reflected in this analysis.] represent almost 82% of all animal enterprises victimized. Just as they have in the United Kingdom, in the U.S. these three industries have been targeted systematically and persistently by animal rights extremists.
Perhaps the most disturbing pattern to emerge during the period in question was that individuals and their personal property were targeted with increasing frequency. In recent years especially, animal rights extremists appear to have become more willing to repeatedly and systematically victimize individuals and their personal property with varying degrees of harassment, intimidation, and property defacement or destruction. Since 1977, 43, or almost 14% of all documented incidents involved the victimization of individuals or their personal property. The victimized individuals were, primarily, research scientists working in the field of biomedical research using animals. According to practitioners, and substantiated by ALF leaflets and other militant animal rights publications, two interrelated factors could account for this trend. First, beginning in the United Kingdom and, predictably, taking root in the U.S., animal rights extremists deliberately have sought to personalize their attacks, victimizing living perpetrators of “animal abuse” in addition to sabotaging the facilities in which they work. Second, and more practically, most industries that have been targeted [Chart “Type of Enterprise Victimized” omitted] systematically throughout the years have responded to this onslaught with heightened security, leaving the individual researchers themselves highly visible and vulnerable representatives of the biomedical research community. [9: A recent example of this factor involved the vandalism of research scientists’ personal property in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C. On April 27, 1993, the homes, and in some cases automobiles, of five scientists employed with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) were vandalized with graffiti. A group calling itself the “Animal Avengers” claimed credit for the acts. In response to numerous demonstrations, burglaries, and other animal rights-related incidents occurring throughout the 1980s, the NIH has and continues to enhance its security posture. It is believed that, deterred by the increased risk of detection at the NIH facilities, the perpetrator of these crimes sought to fulfill their objectives by targeting the individual researcher where they were most vulnerable.] It is important to note that acts against individuals or their property are likely underestimated in the data analyzed for this study. It is assumed that, for fear of retaliation or other emotional factors, not all of the individuals who are victimized by animal rights extremists choose to publicize or report incidents to law enforcement authorities.
The following table provides a detailed breakdown of the types of enterprises victimized by animal rights extremists and number of times each was victimized during the 1977 – June 1993 period.
|University Facilities (medical and research)|
|Agricultural/Food Production Facilities*|
|Private Research Facilities/Labs/Medical Centers|
|Federal Research or Medical Facilities|
|Animal Shelters/Animal Welfare Societies|
|Local Government Facilities|
|High School Laboratories|
|Zoos/Wild Animal Parks|
|Guns and Ammunition/Hunting Stores|
|Leather Retail Stores|
*Most commonly meat packing/processing companies, but also including slaughterhouses, and, much less frequently, livestock and poultry farms.
** Including ranches raising animals for the purpose of research.
Thus far, unlike in the United Kingdom, pharmaceutical companies in the U.S. that use animals for drug testing have not been regularly victimized by animal rights extremists. During the period examined, no pharmaceutical companies using animals for testing medicinal products were documented as having been victimized by animal rights extremists. Only four cosmetic companies were victimized. In view of the increasingly militant rhetoric as well as numerous threats leveled against the pharmaceutical industry, however, law enforcement officials and representatives of the biomedical research community agree that it soon could become a target for extremist actions.
Types of Activity
By far the most prominent animal rights-related activities in the U.S. that fall within this report’s definition of “extremism” are those that were introduced and perfected during the modern animal rights movement’s early development in the United Kingdom as “staples” of extremist activism. As the graph on the following page illustrates, the most common of these activities is vandalism involving minor property damage. This activity includes the painting of graffiti (usually ALF slogans or threats [10: Slogans commonly painted on walls and windows include: “ALF,” “Meat is Murder,” “Animal Auschwitz,” and “Meat is Death and You are Next.’] ) broken windows, defacement, glued locks, and other acts causing minor property damage and/or minimal disruption of commercial or professional operations. Minor vandalism is the most easily perpetrated and least costly form of “economic sabotage,” involving some activities that do not have to be reserved for the most violent, “hard core” adherents to the animal rights cause. Of the 313 documented incidents examined in this study, minor vandalism was documented as having occurred 160 times, or in about half the cases. These data demonstrate that a majority of the documented incidents would likely not constitute a violation of the Animal Enterprise Protection Act or any other federal law, and therefore would not normally be reported to federal law enforcement authorities. [Graph “Type of Activitiy” omitted]
Although minor vandalism is not itself a new tactic, the targets at which it is directed have become more personalized. All of the extremist acts that have been directed against individual researchers have involved either threats against their person or family members or vandalism to their personal property, or both. Of all the cases examined, 29 involved personal threats ranging in severity from intimidation and harassment to letters promising death or bodily injury. In many cases, researchers’ homes or automobiles were vandalized, most commonly with graffiti. However, no cases involving acts against individuals or their property entailing destruction greater than minor vandalism have ever been attributed definitively to animal rights extremism.
The second most common type of activity, occurring 77 times, was the theft or release of animals. Animal “liberation” is a traditional tactic that reaches to the heart of the animal rights movement and provides the ultimate philosophical justification for militant activity. Indeed, most raids on research laboratories and other animal enterprises in which live animals are maintained are conducted for the sole purpose of freeing the animals from captivity. In some cases, raids conducted by the Animal Liberation Front are known to have resulted in the release of hundreds of animals. Many practitioners in the biomedical research community maintain that this activity can be as threatening to the freed animals as it is to the enterprise itself. By ALF activists’ own admission, for instance, animals of undomesticated origin that are bred and raised in captivity are most often released into the wild, where they may not possess the skills to survive. [11: Ironically, in some cases the animals the activists intended to release during the given raid never left their cages. In other cases, animals were known to have returned to the victimized facility following the incident.] During the course of most of these raids, the painting of graffiti and other acts of minor or major vandalism, most often entailing the destruction of equipment, are perpetrated at the scene.
The high incidence of minor vandalism suggests that most extremist animal rights-related acts continue to be small scale and fairly haphazard. The data nevertheless indicate that ALF and associated groups are capable of more sophisticated actions requiring a higher level of planning and coordination. Of these more serious but less frequent activities, vandalism involving major property damage, most often by arson, is the most noteworthy. Major vandalism includes, primarily, the destruction of property by arson or other means resulting in major structural damage and/or property loss as well as significant disruption of commercial operations. This activity, occurring in 26 of the 313 documented incidents, is the most destructive and costly form of “economic sabotage,” and in some cases has been categorized by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as “domestic terrorism.” [12: To date, the most serious and costly act attributable to animal rights extremism was the April 1987 destruction by fire of a veterinary diagnostic laboratory under construction at the University of California – Davis. This attack, claimed by the Animal Liberation Front, was the first animal rights-related incident to be categorized as an act of domestic terrorism by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. As a direct result of this case, in late 1987 the FBI launched an investigation of ALF as a domestic terrorist organization. The FBI continued this investigation through September 1990. Only two other incidents hew been officially characterized as domestic terrorist acts: 1) the April 1989 arson at the University of Arizona in Tucson; and 2) the July 1989 theft of animals and destruction of equipment at Texas Tech University in Lubbock.] Acts of major vandalism have ranged from the destruction of sophisticated laboratory equipment to the destruction of the victimized facility as a whole. As the figures below indicate, in the tradition of ALF activity in the United Kingdom, arson is the preferred means of major destruction for ALF’S “hard core” activists in the U.S. [13: In both the United Stow and the United Kingdom, the Animal Liberation Front has claimed in many cases involving arson that its intent was not to engulf the targeted facility in flames, but rather to activate the sprinkler system so as to damage the contents of the facility with water.] In the United States, arson is most commonly accomplished with unsophisticated non-electrical incendiary devices. Just since the passage of the Animal Enterprise Protection Act in August 1992, there have been two incidents of major vandalism, both involving arson. [14: These incidents were 1) the October 1992 break-in and arson at the USDA predator ecology project at Utah State University; and 2) the November 1992 firebombing of five Swanson Meat trucks in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Direct damages in each case was estimated at over $100,000.]
Given the multiplicity of the types of activities animal extremists engage in, it should be emphasized that these actions are not necessarily mutually exclusive, often being perpetrated in various combinations. For example, ALF and other groups paint graffiti at the incident scene in a vast majority of cases, although most commonly in combination with other acts such as vandalism or the theft of animals. In the data presented below, cases involving overlapping activities during any one incident are sorted according to the most serious activity perpetrated during that event. Even though arson and firebombing were the principal means by which acts of major vandalism were perpetrated, they have been factored out of the major vandalism category to depict the incidence of each tactic during the 1977 -June 30, 1993 period.
The following table provides a detailed breakdown of the types of extremist activities perpetrated by animal rights extremists and the number of times each activity was documented during the 1977 – June 1993 period. As these activities often overlap in any given incident, total of the activities would far exceed the incident total and therefore is not stated. It should be noted that, due to their only marginal relevance to the mandate of the Act as well as their high incidence, demonstrations, sit-ins, and other protests are not presented here. According to the data analyzed, during the 1977 – 1993 period over 200 animal rights-related demonstrations were recorded as occurring, some resulting in arrests of individuals for trespassing.
|Vandalism: Minor Property Damage|
|Theft/Release of Animals|
|Threats Against an Individual|
|Vandalism: Major Property Damage|
|Non-Threatening Letters/Telephone Calls*|
*Pertains to animal rights groups making friendly contact with a perceived conduit or sympathizer in a targeted enterprise.
Despite the severely destructive nature of some of these activities, none of the extremist animal rights-related activities analyzed for this report is known to have resulted in the injury or death of another individual. [15: In February 1990 Dr. Hyram Kitchen, Dean of the Veterinary School of the University of Tennessee, was shot and killed on his private farm. One month before the incident, a local police department issued an alert through the FBI’s National Crime Information Center that various sources, including mail received by the University of Tennessee, indicated that animal rights extremists had threatened to assassinate a veterinary dean within the following 12 months. No one was ever arrested for the act and there was no claim of responsibility. Some suspect that ALF or another extremist animal rights, group or individual was responsible. It must be emphasized, however, that this suspicion has never been substantiated.] In addition, it is important to note that, unlike in Canada and the United Kingdom, there have been no major incidents involving product tampering or contamination hoaxes claimed by or attributed to animal rights extremists. And, finally, there is no evidence to indicate that firearms were used during the course of any of the documented incidents in the United States.
Geographical Patterns of Activity
It is generally believed that extremist animal rights-related activity in the United States originated on the east coast. The first on record, for instance, occurred in New York. [16: This case involved the theft of four laboratory animals from a New York University research facility.] Soon afterward, activities in Maryland, the District of Columbia, and Florida were documented. During the course of the 1980s, however, the locus of ALF activity shifted to the west coast as the incidence of activities dramatically increased. Since the mid-1980s, California has been unequalled in the number of incidents claimed by ALF and other groups. Altogether, approximately 54% of all documented incidents occurred in the western United States (excluding Hawaii). The corresponding figure for the east coast region of the U.S. is 34%. Extremist animal rights-related activity was documented in 28 states and the District of Columbia during the 1977 – June 30, 1993 period. The overall geographical patterns are depicted by the chart on page 18 and in the table below.
* Available sources did not indicate the location of these incidents.
The first documented extremist animal rights-related incident occurred on May 29, 1977, when two dolphins were released from a marine laboratory at the University of Hawaii by a group calling itself the Undersea Railroad. Following this incident, incidents numbered only a few each year through the late 1970s. Beginning in 1982, the level of activity increased fairly steadily through the mid-1980s, decreasing for the years 1985 and 1986, and surging significantly in 1987 and 1988. [Chart “Location of Incidents” omitted] [Graph “Incidents by Year” omitted] In the subsequent years extremist animal rights activity dropped steadily, by 1992 reaching its lowest level since 1986. As of June 30, 1993, the number of extremist animal rights-related incidents had already exceeded the 1992 incident total. About half of the activities Occurring during the first half of 1993 involved threats against individual researchers and/or acts of minor vandalism against their personal property, including private residences.
Given the wide fluctuations in ALF activity during the 1980s, the cause of this recent decline cannot be reliably discerned. Nevertheless, a number of occurrences directly resulting from the onslaught of animal rights extremism throughout the 1980s can be isolated as possibly having influence on this decline. First, as detailed above, in 1988 the FBI began its investigation of ALF as a domestic terrorist organization. Second, the decline in ALF activity through the early l990s coincided with the deliberation of legislation to protect animal enterprises and the ultimate passage of the Animal Enterprise Protection Act in August 1992. Third, at this time federal grand juries were being convened to investigate ALF’s highly destructive activity. And, finally, according to representatives of the biomedical research, agriculture, and fur producing communities, by the late 1980s industries that systematically had been targeted by animal rights extremists began to significantly tighten their security postures.
Whether or not these events in any way affected the incidence of extremist animal rights activity, the evidence clearly suggests that by the early l990s activity claimed by ALF and other groups had noticeably declined. In view of these trends, illustrated in the graph on the previous page and in the table below, ALF activity should be monitored regularly to ensure that animal rights extremism in the l990s does not suddenly and destructively increase as it did during the 1980s.
|1993 (as of June 30)|
|Total Years: 16|
Effects of Animal Rights Extremism in the United States
The consensus among practitioners in industry, government, academia, and law enforcement alike is that animal rights extremism in the United States has significantly affected, both directly and indirectly, the enterprises and industries that it has victimized. As the statistical data on this issue was inadequate, however, it was impossible to derive any definitive estimate of the cumulative financial or other effects of this activity. In examining the effects of animal rights extremism in the United States, therefore, this study relies primarily on anecdotal information, including the impressions of interviewed officials as well as information pertaining to specific documented incidents provided by those officials or by law enforcement authorities. From these accounts we were able to identify the consequences targeted enterprises in private industry, government, and the academic community believe to be most pertinent as well as costly to their operations.
By all accounts, the effects of animal rights extremism begin with but go well beyond the readily apparent costs of physical destruction or stolen property. In general, animal rights extremism has had direct, collateral, and indirect effects on animal enterprises or industries. Despite our inability to quantify these effects, the unanimity of concern among all targeted enterprises as well the documentary information that was obtained suggests that the compounded impact of animal-rights extremism has imposed a significant cost upon both individual enterprises and the wider commercial industries and research communities of which they are a part. The following is a summary of those effects.
Direct Effects refer to the immediate economic impact of extremist animal rights-related activity. These consequences are the most apparent and costly, as they relate to the disruption of commercial or otherwise critical operations and/or the loss of property due to destruction or theft inflected during a specific incident. These effects are usually realized in the form of repair or replacement costs. The most common activities-minor vandalism and the theft or release of animals-though less destructive, invariably involve some degree of property damage or loss. For any enterprise type, the release of animals can impose a severe economic burden upon the facility and its operations. Laboratory animals, for instance, can cost thousands of dollars each and, if especially bred and conditioned for the purposes of research, can be difficult to replace.
Even more seriously, as mentioned above, 26 acts of major vandalism, including arson, have been documented since 1977. These cases alone, comprising only 8% of all animal rights-related cases, have involved millions of dollars in economic loss resulting from damaged or destroyed equipment and facilities. The most destructive and costly incident to date was the arson and destruction by fire of a veterinary diagnostic lab under construction at the University of California at Davis. Total damages resulting from this act were estimated at $4.5 million. [17: Although “ALF” graffiti was discovered at the scene of the blaze and a television reporter received a call from an individual claiming responsibility on behalf of ALF, the group later claimed that it had set the fire selectively, not intending to destroy the entire facility.] In all, a total of 12 animal rights-related acts have resulted in direct damages estimated in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, and at least one in which direct damages exceeded $1 million. In five of these cases, the victimized enterprise was a university research facility. (See Appendix II for a list of those incidents for which estimates of direct costs were available.)
Collateral Effects represent the longer-term economic impact of animal rights-related activity. These are the costs enterprises or industries have been compelled to incur in response to being victimized or threatened by animal rights extremists. They are, primarily, expenses relating to attempts to prevent acts of animal rights extremism. According to many practitioners, the need to enhance security is the most prominent among these effects on lining enterprises or industries. Although at least one study has been conducted within the biomedical research community to quantify the financial burden of added security on research facilities, the difficulty of isolating costs solely attributable to animal rights extremism is said to have prevented any definitive or reliable conclusion from being made. Informally, however, most targeted industries agree that security costs for animal enterprises have risen anywhere from 10% to 20% as a result of extremist animal rights activity. These costs most often include the addition or enhancement of both operational (e.g., security personnel) and structural security systems.
For all targeted industries, another collateral cost associated with animal rights extremism is a higher overall risk of being victimized, which often translates into higher insurance premiums. Although most animal industries agree that this is without doubt a collateral cost factor, none could comfortably offer a measure of its actual effect on animal enterprises. For commercial enterprises such as food or fur retailers, collateral costs also include the temporary loss of business due to the repair or replacement of the facility. In more extreme cases such as those experienced in the fur industry, the impact of an attack on local public opinion can translate into the gradual and potentially permanent loss of clientele.
The fur retail industry was the only industry regularly victimized by animal rights extremism that provided a current estimate of the cumulative direct and collateral effects of this activity. According to a recent survey of the approximately 1,500 fur retailers in the United States, [18: According to fur retail industry representatives, the number of fur retail enterprises in the United States has dropped from approximately 2,400 in 1987 to about 1,500 in 1993. The industry does not attribute this decline to animal rights activism, but rather to recessionary and other economic factors.] animal rights-related activity resulted in an estimated $17.5 million in direct and collateral costs from 1987 through 1992. Most of this, the analysis concludes, reflects the cost of physical damages, including repair and replacement expenses. Costs relating to enhanced security, although proportionally much less, also are included in this estimate. The impact on clientele and other potential Opportunity costs. were not quantified in the fur industry’s study.
Indirect Effects are those that cannot be directly measured in financial or economic terms, but which may result from the direct or collateral costs mentioned above. Despite the unavailability of specific estimates, it can be concluded with some confidence that both the direct and collateral effects of extremist animal rights activities are often high enough to eliminate or divert resources away from research or other activities relating to the use of animals. The loss or diversion of resources inevitably has intangible consequences, especially for the biomedical community and other non-revenue generating industries. These costs often include: the loss, disruption, or delay of ongoing research; higher research costs; scheduled research projects postponed or cancelled; and research grants withheld. Another disruptive, albeit less resource-dependent effect of animal rights extremism is the apprehension and fear that this activity can instill in an employee of any victimized animal enterprise.
For university-based, or otherwise non-revenue generating animal enterprises especially, the theft of animals and records and the destruction of equipment or other property, perpetrated in tandem, can be financially burdensome, disruptive to the progress of the targeted project, and demoralizing for employees. In order to illustrate the compounded effect animal rights extremist activity can have on an animal enterprise, it is worth relating the details of an incident for which cost estimates were made available. The following describes one of the three incidents that the FBI has officially characterized as being an act of domestic terrorism.
In July 1989, without warning, ALF activists illegally entered a laboratory and office at Texas Tech University’s Health Sciences Center in Lubbock, Texas. The laboratory was operated by Dr. John Orem, who was conducting research on sleeping disorders-including Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)-and using cats for experimentation. During the intrusion, laboratory equipment was damaged or disabled, slogans were spray-painted on the walls, and five adult research-conditioned cats were stolen. Immediately following the raid, an intense propaganda and harassment campaign focusing on Dr. Orem’s research ensued. In traditional fashion, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals held a news conference and issued a statement justifying the release of the cats.
According to an official with the South Central Sector of USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Regulatory Enforcement and Animal Care:
“Research was essentially stopped for one year. Extensive time was lost repairing or replacing equipment and [Dr. Orem] was not permitted to house animals in his facility until added security was installed. Responding to the continuing propaganda campaign and investigations together with the loss of morale, energy, and productivity caused by this “incident” integrated with the resumption of research and cannot be assigned a monetary value.”
The cost of replacing the stolen cats, which had not yet been used in research, was estimated at $2,500. Repair and replacement costs were estimated as follows: facilities-$15,500; equipment-$31,800; and supplies-$6,200. It was also reported that, as a result of the incident, the laboratory facilities and equipment were fully or partially inactive for 45 weeks. In addition, it was estimated that the institution’s cost of paying the research scientists and staff as well as maintaining the facilities and equipment during the inactive period ran into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Ultimately, after the direct, collateral, and indirect consequences of the incident were considered, the total cost to the targeted institution was estimated at just over $1 million.
When the direct, collateral, and indirect effects of incidents such as this are factored together, ALF’s professed tactic of “economic sabotage” can be considered successful, and its objectives, at least toward the victimized facility, fulfilled.
The Official Response to Animal Rights Extremism in the United States
In addition to the FBI’s investigation of ALF as a terrorist organization from 1988 through 1990, and the ultimate enactment of the Animal Enterprise Protection Act, federal authorities have responded to animal rights extremism by launching a number of grand jury investigations of major incidents. Some of these currently are ongoing, including inquiries into the following incidents:
- June 1991 break-in and firebombing of mink farm facility at Oregon State University. The facility damaged by fire was used for storing feed and equipment. ALF claimed responsibility.
- June 1991 destruction by fire of the Northwest Farm Food Cooperative facility in Edmonds, Washington. The cooperative supplied animal feed and bedding to northwest fur farms. ALF claimed responsibility.
- October 1992 break-in, release of animals, and arson at Utah State University. The target was a USDA-sponsored predator ecology project in which coyotes were maintained for experimentation. [19: Many of the university-based research projects victimized over the years have been funded-either partially or in full-by government agencies such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture or the National Institutes of Health.] ALF claimed responsibility.
On July 16, 1993, a federal grand jury in Grand Rapids, Michigan returned a five count indictment against Rodney Coronado-a suspected ALF member-in connection with the February 1992 break-in, vandalism, and arson at Michigan State University. [20: Rodney Coronado, who also is wanted in Canada on charges relating to the vandalism of fur retailers, is still at large.] The indictment includes charges of arson, destruction of government property, theft, and the use of an explosive. The targeted project involved fertility research using minks for experimentation. ALF claimed responsibility for the incident.
Since the appearance of illegal activity relating to the cause of animal rights, only nine persons have been convicted in connection with a specific incident. Only one person-Fran Trutt-was convicted on federal charges (see footnote number 27 below), and only one person – Roger Troen-has been convicted of involvement in an incident claimed by ALF. [21: In January 1988, Roger Troen was convicted in an Oregon county circuit court on charges of first-degree theft and second-degree burglary relating to his involvement in an October 1986 break-in and theft at the University of Oregon in Eugene.] To date, no one has been charged under the Animal Enterprise Protection Act of 1992.
Since 1988, 32 states have enacted laws aimed at protecting-animal enterprises from animal rights-inspired violence and destruction. They are, by year of enactment, as follows:
As of June 1993, similar legislation was being considered by legislatures in New Jersey, Alabama, and New Hampshire.
Animal Rights Extremism in Other Countries
On the basis of the information examined during the course of this study, there appear to be no optional, logistical, or financial linkages between the Animal Liberation Front or other extremist animal rights groups in the United States and groups in other countries. Similarly, we found no evidence that groups based in other countries are operating or sponsoring activities in the United States. As evidenced by its “cellular” organizational structure, ALF and its associated groups appear to remain localized, connected with their foreign counterparts by little more than a common philosophy and operational “example.” [22: Operational techniques employed by ALF in the United Kingdom are often shared with counterparts in other countries through underground manuals, such as a guide to building incendiary devices, and openly available periodicals, such as the British ALF publication “Arkangel for Animal Liberation.”] As such, animal rights extremism can more accurately be characterized as multinational than as international. Besides the United Kingdom, animal rights extremism has been observed in other European countries, including the Netherlands, Germany, Prance, Ireland, Sweden, Iceland, and Italy. Activity also has been documented in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Israel. [23: In Canada most notably, over 50 incidents-including a costly product contamination hoax-claimed by extremist animal rights groups have been documented since the early 1980s. Most of these acts were claimed by either the Animal Liberation Front or the Animal Rights Militia.]
Despite the apparent absence of tangible connections, animal rights extremism in the United Kingdom exerts considerable influence over the phenomenon in the United States. Since emergence of the Band of Mercy and then the Animal Liberation Front in the 1970s, militant animal rights-related activity in the United Kingdom has continued unabated. Not only has animal rights extremism in the U.K. set the ideological stage for adherents in the United States and other countries over the years, but it also has established the example for violence and destruction. Consistent with their common origins, it is widely believed by practitioners in targeted enterprises and law enforcement alike that animal rights extremism has and continues to progressively follow the movement in the U.K. According to an official with New Scotland Animal Rights National Index (ARNI), [24: In 1984, the Animal Rights National Index was established for the purpose of monitoring animal rights activities in the United Kingdom. The unit is responsible for collecting, evaluating, and disseminating intelligence relating to animal rights extremism. ARNI has no investigative role; offenses are investigated by officers from other authorities within the British law enforcement community. There is no law in the United Kingdom that is specifically designed to counter animal rights extremism. Rather, charges are often brought under the Criminal Damage Act, Offences Against the Person Act, and the Public Order Act.] for example, the United States is “five years behind the United Kingdom, but catching up quickly,” in the severity of activity. If this agent is correct, the critical differences between animal rights extremism in the U.K and the U.S. will be extremely important to the ability of law enforcement, government, and industry to identify and prepare for potential changes in the nature of animal rights extremism in this country.. The patterns of activity in the U.K. that reflect these differences are highlighted below.
First, the frequency of extremist animal rights activity in Britain has consistently far exceeded that in the United States. [25: The higher rate of extremist animal rights-related incidents in the United Kingdom is further accentuated by the size of its population. As of 1992, the population of the U.K. was approximately 58 million, compared with the United States’ population of almost 256 million.] Since the mid-1970s, for instance, thousands of extremist animal rights incidents have been documented in the United Kingdom. During the period 1990 – 1992 alone, ARNI documented 2,980 incidents involving militant animal rights activity. Even during this three year period, yearly incident totals varied widely, mirroring very roughly the fluctuation of activity in the United States, but on a much larger scale. Following a lull in 1990, when 573 incidents causing damage estimated at £551,350 were recorded, British authorities observed a substantial increase in activity. In 1991, 1,718 incidents were documented, causing an estimated £8,539,000 in damage. Activities decreased to 689 in 1992, when cumulative damage was estimated at almost £2 million. [26: During the 1990 1992 period, one British pound was worth an average of $1.60.]
Secondly, the willingness to cause more severe destruction to animal enterprises in the United Kingdom traditionally has been greater than in the United States. As the Band of Mercy and the Animal Liberation Front in Britain pioneered the tactic of economic sabotage, they have progressively broadened the means by which it is achieved. Most notably, throughout the 1980s, ALF in Britain escalated its use of incendiary devices to cause damage to animal enterprises. Although unsophisticated non-electrical incendiary devices-such as “Molotov cocktails”-were and continue to be preferred for their ease of construction and predictable effectiveness, ALF and other groups in the U.K. have demonstrated an increasing willingness to use timed or electrical incendiary devices in their attacks against important targets. These have included mail bombs and car bombs, which are both more controllable and destructive than simple incendiary devices. In recent years, it has become common for hundreds of incendiary devices of varying levels of sophistication to be used in attacks during the course of only one year in the U.K. In 1991,for instance, over 250 crude incendiary devices were used against the meat industry alone.
The increased sophistication and use of incendiary devices in the United Kingdom appears to have coincided with the “personalization” of the conflict –that is, the willingness to cause harm to an individual or his/her personal property. In a number of cases during the 1980s and early 1990s, explosive devices were attached to automobi1es belonging to biomedical researchers, some without warning. Most were discovered and defused, but some actually detonated. Although these and other devices have caused much harm to vehicles and other property, they are known to have resulted in no deaths and only one injury — to a small child, who recovered. In the United States by contrast, there has been only one confirmed case involving the use of this type of explosive with the intent of harming an individual. [27: In November 1988, Fran Stephanie Trutt was arrested for planting a sophisticated radio-controlled pipebomb near the parking space of the head of United States Surgical Corporation, a company that uses dogs for testing surgical staples. The bomb was discovered and successfully disarmed. Trutt was apprehended on the company’s premises in possession of the bomb’s detonator. In January 1989, Trutt pled guilty to federal charges of possessing explosives found in her Queens, Near York, apartment, and was sentenced to 14 months of imprisonment. In April 1990, in Connecticut Superior Court, Trutt pled no contest to charges of attempted murder, possession of explosives, and bomb manufacturing. As part of a plea agreement, Trust was sentenced to one year in prison followed by three years of probation.]
In addition, also unlike in the United States, threats and claims of product tampering or contamination have been common in the U.K. The most disruptive and costly of these occurred in 1984, when activists claimed to have poisoned Mars chocolate bars to protest dental research on monkeys. The claim turned out to be a hoax, but cost the company an estimated £3 million. More recently, in November 1991 animal rights activists claimed to have contaminated bottles of Lucozade, a health drink manufactured by Smith Klein Beecham. Removing the product from store shelves for one day alone cost the company an estimated £9 million.
With regard to targeted enterprises or industries in the United Kingdom, it should be mentioned that the tactics of economic sabotage and propaganda have most seriously affected the country’s fur industry. According to British law enforcement sources, a prolonged arson campaign that began in the mid-1980s has resulted in a dramatic loss in fur sales and, consequently, revenue. Claiming this a success, animal rights extremists, while continuing to victimize the meat industry, biomedical research community, and fox hunters, began shifting their attention toward the pharmaceutical industry. In contrast with the activities of animal rights extremists in the United States, for activists in the United Kingdom the pharmaceutical industry has become a “preferred target” to be systematically and persistently victimized.
Whether animal rights extremism in the United States will evolve toward these patterns of heightened activity in the United Kingdom cannot be predicted with any certainty. After all, the frequency and severity of incidents in any country relates as much to the unique national circumstances and constraints-such as geography and the level public sympathy or tolerance-as to the diligence or ideological zeal of the individual activists. It is believed, for instance, that given the U.K.’s geographical size, [28: The United Kingdom comprises a land area roughly the size of the state of Oregon.] hard core animal rights extremists there work in closer coordination with each other than activists in the United States. It also has been suggested that ALF and other groups in the United Kingdom have and continue to draw members from the ranks of other fringe and/or subversive political groups. Prominent among these are left-wing anarchists presumably disaffected by the end of the Cold War. There is no evidence relating to the role of other political groups or ideologies in ALF’s operations or membership sources in the United States. Despite these fundamental differences, however, it can be concluded that, since its inception in the U.S., the general momentum of animal rights extremism in this country has and continues to follow closely the example established in the United Kingdom.
On the basis of the analyses conducted during the course of this study, it is possible to draw the following general conclusions about animal-rights extremism in the United States.
- After emerging in the United States out of the tradition established in the United Kingdom, extremist animal rights-related activity increased in frequency from the late 1970s through the mid-1980s, reaching a high point in the years 1987 and 1988, and generally declining through June 1993. In all, 313 incidents involving animal rights extremism were documented during the period.
- Claiming approximately 60% of the 313 documented incidents, the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) is by far the most active of the 23 entities observed as having claimed responsibility for violent or disruptive acts against animal enterprises in the United States since 1977. ALF is believed to have a very loosely organized membership of 100 or fewer militant activists who are willing to inflict large-scale damage or destruction on behalf of their cause. All extremist animal rights groups are believed to be associated with each other by leadership, membership, or both.
- Throughout the 1980s, ALF and other groups employed the traditional tactics of minor vandalism and the theft of animals most frequently. Altogether, a large majority of the extremist animal rights-related incidents occurring during the 1977 -June 30, 1993 period were not of the severity or cost to be covered by the Animal Enterprise Protection Act of 1992. During the same period, however, extremists associated with the animal rights cause demonstrated an increasing willingness to engage in more militant and costly activities. These included acts of major property destruction, primarily by means of arson. A total of 26 acts of major property destruction, inflicting damages estimated in the millions of dollars, were documented during the period.
- Animal enterprises most persistently and systematically targeted by animal rights extremists during the 1977 – June 1993 period were, in order of frequency, the biomedical research community, the meat production and retail industries, and the fur production and retail industries. The biomedical research community alone, encompassing university, federal, and private research facilities, constitutes 43% of all documented cases. The most disturbing pattern to emerge during the 1980s was that individuals and their personal property were and continue to be targeted with increasing frequency and persistence.
- Although, in the United States, animal rights extremism was first observed on the east coast, during the study period as a whole the majority of incidents-occurred in California. In all, approximately 54% of all documented incidents claimed by ALF and other groups occurred in the western United States (excluding Hawaii). Extremist animal rights-related activity was documented in 28 states and the District of Columbia during the 1977 – June 30, 1993 period.
- The consensus among practitioners in industry, government’ academia, and law enforcement alike is that animal rights extremism in the United States has significantly affected the enterprises and industries it has victimized. These effects include the direct costs of physical destruction or stolen property, the collateral costs of enhanced security, higher insurance rates, and lost clientele, and the indirect costs of disrupted, delayed, or cancelled research. These compounded effects on targeted animal enterprises has not been reliably quantified.
- Since the emergence of animal rights extremism in the United States, only six persons have been convicted in connection with a specific incident. Only one person has been convicted on federal charges, and only one (another) person has been convicted of involvement in an incident claimed by ALF. To date, no one has been charged under the Animal Enterprise Protection Act of 1992.
- Incidents relating to animal rights extremism have been documented in numerous foreign countries. Animal rights extremism in the United Kingdom, where the phenomenon originated and continues to be much more severe than in the United States, has substantially influenced the movement in this country. British activists have set not only the ideological stage for adherents in the U.S. but also have established the example for violence and destruction. Activists in the United States have and could continue to progressively follow this example. Nevertheless, this study uncovered no evidence that would suggest that there are any operational, logistical, or financial connections between ALF or other groups in the U.K. (or other countries) and their counterparts in the United States.
Appendix I: Names and Acronyms of Animal Rights Organizations That Claim to have Perpetrated Acts of Extremism in the United States
- Animal Avengers
- Animal Liberation Front (ALF)
- Animals Now
- Animal Rights Calls
- Animal Rights Militia (ARM)
- Band of Mercy (BOM)
- Earth First! (EF!)
- Earth Night Action Group
- Farm Freedom Fighters
- Farm Sanctuary
- Friends of Animals (FOA)
- Fund For Animals (FFA)
- Guardian Apes
- Human Animal Liberation Front (HALF)
- Last Chance for Animals
- Paint Panthers
- Primarily Primates
- Socialist Committee for the Protection of Animals (SCPA)
- SUPPRESS (Students United Protesting Research of Sentient Subjects)
- True Friends
- Undersea Railroad
- Urban Gorillas
- Vegan Action League
- Western Wildlife Unit/Cell (of the Animal Liberation Front)
Appendix II: Major Incidents for Which Estimated Direct Costs were Available (Exceeding $l0,000)
|Date||Enterprise Victimized||Description of Action||Estimated Direct Cost|
|4/16/87||University of California-Davis||Arson/Vandalism||$4,500,000|
|4/20/85||University of California-Riverside||Break-in/Theft||$600,000|
|12/9/84||City of Hope Research Inst.* and Medical Center, Duarte, CA||Break-in/Theft||$400,000-$500,000|
|6/5/88||Sun Valley Meat Packing Company* San Jose, CA||Arson/Vandalism||$300,000|
|4/2/89||University of Arizona-Tucson||Break-in /Arson/ Theft||$250,000|
|1/29/89||Dixon Livestock Building* Dixon, CA||Arson/Vandalism||$250,000|
|11/28/87||V. Melani Poultry* Santa Clara, CA||Arson/Vandalism||$230,000|
|11/25/87||Ferrara Meat Company* San Jose, CA||Arson||$4200,000|
|5/1/86||Simonsen Laboratories* Gilroy, CA||Vandalism||$165,000|
|2/28/92||Michigan State University East Lansing, MI||Break-in/Arson||$125,000|
|10/24/92||Utah State University Logan, UT||Break-in/Arson||$110,000|
|11/10/92||Swanson Meats* Minneapolis, MN||Arson||$100,000+|
|12/6/86||SEMA Corporation* and National Institutes of Health, MD||Theft||$100,000|
|6/10/91||Oregon State University Corvallis, OR||Break-in/Arson Vandalism||$75,000|
|7/1/89||Texas Tech University Lubbock, TX||Break-in||$50,000-70,000|
|12/25/83||Harbor-UCLA Medical Center||Break-in/Theft||$58,000|
|10/26/86||University Of Oregon Eugene, OR||Break-in/Theft||$50,000+|
|9/1/87||San Jose Valley Veal & Beef Co.*Santa Clara, CA||Arson||$35,000|
|5/29/84||University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphia, PA||Break-in/Theft||$20,000|
|11/24/86||Omega and HMS Turkey Ranches* Wilton, CA||Theft/Vandalism||$12,000|
|8/15/88||Loma Linda University Loma Linda, CA||Break-in/Theft||$10,000|
*Indicates a private or otherwise non-academic enterprise
[End of report]
[Letter of transmittal]
U.S. Department of Justice
Office of Legislative Affairs
Office of the Assistant Attorney General
Washington, D.C 20530
September 2, 1993
The Honorable Al Gore
President of the Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510
Dear Mr. President:
The Animal Enterprise Protection Act of 1992 (P.L. 102-346) directs the Attorney General and the Secretary of Agriculture jointly to conduct a study and report to Congress on the extent and effects of domestic and international terrorism on enterprises using animals for food or fiber production, agriculture, research, or testing. In accordance with this mandate, the Department of Justice and the Department of Agriculture have examined the phenomenon of animal rights extremism in the United States, from its origins to the present. The enclosed report conveys the findings of this study. As the Federal Bureau of Investigation has categorized only a few animal rights-related incidents as acts of domestic terrorism, for purposes of this report the term “animal rights extremism” includes all acts of destruction or disruption perpetrated against animal enterprises or their employees.
From 1977 (when the first animal rights-related incident in the United States was documented) through June 30, 1993, 313 animal rights-related incidents were documented an having occurred. These involved acts of varying degrees of disruption or destruction perpetrated against a broad range of professional or commercial animal enterprises, and, increasingly, individuals. The study concludes that extremist animal rights activity in the U.S. peaked numerically in 1987 and 1988. It appears, however, that the willingness of animal rights extremists to employ violent and destructive methods against certain targets remains strong. Importantly, the majority of animal rights-related incidents involved minor vandalism or other acts that are not covered by the Animal Enterprise Protection Act or any other federal statute.
Animal rights extremism was found to have compounding effects that often can be substantially disruptive to the commercial or professional operations of a victimized animal enterprise, or, in some cases, can be threatening to an individuals safety. It generally was not possible to quantify these effects; accordingly, the study’s analysis relied upon anecdotal data and specific case studies provided by victimized industries, government agencies, and law enforcement authorities.
As the principal authority responsible for enforcing the Animal Enterprise Protection Act, the Federal Bureau of Investigation will continue to monitor major acts of animal rights extremism in relation to the Act’s impact on both the incidence and severity of this activity.
This report has also been sent to the Speaker of the House of Representatives. We hope that you will find it helpful. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.
Sheila F. Anthony
Assistant Attorney General
Assistant Secretary, Marketing and Inspection Services
U.S. Department of Agriculture
[Author’s letter of acknowledgement]
U. S. Department of Justice
Washington D.C 20530