The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance, formerly the Wildlife Legislative Fund of America, is launching this effort to pass new legislation across the fifty states to recognize and penalize these types of acts. The FBI now calls two of the most radical groups, the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) and associated Animal Liberation Front (ALF), the most active domestic terrorism organizations.
In addition, the model legislation developed will help law enforcement officials identify some of the animal rights organizations that may have been providing assistance to these radical underground groups.
“Unfortunately, it seems that many people have written these types of acts off as akin to harmless college pranks by misguided people. But last year alone, these groups caused more than $17.3 million in damages,” said Rick Story, U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance vice president. “They endangered lives, set back life-saving medical research, and struck fear into the hearts of countless researchers, business people, farmers, sportsmen and more. This goes far beyond college pranks.”
The U.S. Department of Justice reported in 1997 that animal rights terrorism had caused more than $150 million in damages. The ELF alone has claimed credit for more than $40 million in damages since 1997. The FBI also admits it has a long way to go to be able to deal with eco-terrorism.
Last year, these groups targeted animal research facilities; the meat industry including McDonald’s, Burger King, Pizza Hut and Wendy’s; farms; pet stores; kennels; circuses; oil companies; power plants; sportsmen clubs and more. In a recently released report by the ALF, they admit to 137 separate criminal acts in 2001, 43 of which they term “major.”
“All one has to do to see the seriousness of these types of acts is to read their own report, which is amazing in its detail and brazenness,” commented Story. “The acts took place on 110 separate days, in 24 states and two Canadian provinces. They even gave awards for their favorite acts, for example 36 SUV’s torched in Eugene, Oregon on March 30, 2001.”
Defenders of these acts point to the fact that no one has died as a result of their activities. But, the real question is how many people have died of diseases that could have been cured from research destroyed in laboratories across the U.S.?
In the past, labs have been destroyed that were conducting research on sudden infant death syndrome and birth defects prevention. The drug AZT, which is now widely used to treat AIDS, was delayed two years by a break-in at Washington State University in the 1980s.
“We are releasing this bill in the hope that state legislators around the U.S. will take an interest in this issue, and introduce their own bills,” Story said. “Of course, we will aid in this effort by promoting the bill to our members in the states, and reaching out to other groups who have been victimized or who fear the possibility. Sportsmen know all too well the power and dangers of extreme animal rights groups. We believe many others will understand these threats and support our efforts to fight them.”
For a copy of the animal rights report or a detail of Animal Rights in America, contact the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance at (614) 888-4868.
The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance protects the rights of hunters, anglers and trappers nationally in the courts, legislatures, at the ballot, in Congress and through public education programs. For more information about the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance and its work, call (614) 888-4868 or visit its website, www.ussportsmen.org.