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NCJ Number
Security Management Volume: 37 Issue: 7 Dated: (July 1993) Pages: 33-36
G G McClellan
Date Published
4 pages
Animal rights terrorism is on the rise in the United States and Europe; between 1976 and 1990, 260 incidents involving animal rights terrorism occurred in the United States, and the number of incidents rose from 1.4 per year in 1980 to 31.8 per year in 1990.
Potential targets of animal rights terrorism include research labs, fur shops, fighting cock farms, poultry- producing factory farms, butcher shops, slaughterhouses, local food market meat departments, and horse and dog racing events. The main objective of activists is to stop the use of animals for experimentation, sport, or food. They rely primarily on economic sabotage through which they hope to create such extreme financial hardship that companies involved in the animal use industry will quit the business. In Great Britain, the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) has conducted numerous successful operations, and similar actions have occurred in other European countries and the United States. Although a few ALF members have been prosecuted, the number of individuals caught is small, compared with the number of successful terrorist actions. From 1976 to 1990, for example, 134 felony animal rights incidents occurred in the United States but only 6 arrests were made. One reason for the low number of arrests and prosecutions is that ALF terrorists live otherwise ordinary lives and do not usually have prior criminal records. Another reason for the poor arrest record is that terrorists often have public sympathy. Like political terrorists, ALF members must publicize their acts. They operate individually or organize into small cells, unknown to each other except by the cell leader, and receive support from a sympathetic infrastructure of nonactivists. The report also describes the action plans of animal rights groups as well as law enforcement countermeasures.