Extremists within the environmental and animal rights movements have committed literally thousands of violent criminal acts in recent decades — arguably more than those from any other radical sector, left or right.
Although these extremists have yet to kill anyone in America, they have carried out arsons, firebombings, assaults, and attacks on animal-based businesses and laboratories.
This February, an FBI official testified to Congress that what he characterized as the leading eco-terrorist groups – the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) — had committed more than 600 criminal acts since 1996 that resulted in a minimum of $43 million in damage.
What follows is a selection of 1984-2002 incidents, drawn from ALF/ELF communiqués, media reports, law enforcement officials and publications of the movement.
An ALF raid at the University of Pennsylvania Head Injury Lab caused $60,000 in damage.
DEC. 9, 1984
The ALF raided the City of Hope National Medical Center, causing $400,000 in damage.
APRIL 1, 1985
The ALF raided a laboratory at the University of California, Riverside, causing $700,000 in damage. About 500 animals were released.
OCT. 26, 1986
The ALF claimed an attack on a University of Oregon laboratory that did nearly $120,000 in damage.
APRIL 15, 1987
An ALF arson attack at the University of California, Davis, Animal Diagnostics Laboratory destroyed a building and 20 vehicles, causing $5.1 million in damage.
SEPT. 1, 1987
Santa Clara, Calif.
The Animal Rights Militia, part of the ALF, claimed an arson fire at the San Jose Valley Veal & Beef Company that caused $10,000 in damage.
NOV. 28, 1987
Santa Clara, Calif.
The words "ALF" and "murderers" were sprayed on walls at the V. Melani poultry distribution company, where a fire caused $200,000 in damage.
APRIL 2, 1989
The ALF set fires in a laboratory at a Veterans Administration hospital at the University of Arizona that caused $500,000 in damage.
APRIL 15, 1989
The ALF set timed incendiary devices at a meat company, where an apparently unexpected early morning crew smelled smoke and managed to flee to safety.
JULY 4, 1989
The ALF destroyed records and smashed computers and other equipment during a laboratory raid at Texas Tech University, causing $700,000 in damage.
JUNE 10, 1991
ALF member Rod Coronado and others broke into the Oregon State University's experimental mink farm and set timed incendiary devices that caused $62,000 in damage.
DEC. 15, 1991
Rod Coronado set fire to a Hynek Malecky facility where mink pelts are dried, causing $96,000 in damage.
FEB. 28, 1992
East Lansing, Mich.
Rod Coronado and other ALF members set a $1.2 million fire at Michigan State University's mink research facility. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) donated $42,000 toward Coronado's defense, but he was imprisoned anyway and not released until 2001.
The ALF set two trucks on fire at the Conti Packing Co.
APRIL 14, 1995
The ALF ignited an incendiary device at Oneata Beef Company, causing $6,000 in damage.
JUNE 15, 1995
The ALF torched Tandy Leather, causing $300,000 in damage.
DEC. 24, 1995
The ALF planted incendiary devices under three Dutch Girl Ice Cream trucks, causing $15,600 in damage.
APRIL 2, 1996
Salt Lake City, Utah
The ALF burned an Egg Products store to the ground and damaged two of the firm's trucks, causing over $100,000 in damage.
OCT. 27, 1996
The ELF and the ALF jointly torched a U.S. Forest Service truck.
OCT. 30, 1996
The ALF and the ELF burned the U.S. Forest Service Oakridge Ranger Station, causing $5.3 million in damage.
NOV. 12, 1996
A firebomb claimed by the ALF was thrown through a window at the Alaskan Fur Company, causing over $2 million in damage.
FEB. 15, 1997
The ALF left butyric acid, a foul-smelling chemical, in a McDonald's and spray-painted "McShit, McMurder, McDeath" on the restaurant's bathroom walls.
MARCH 11, 1997
A series of firebombs claimed jointly by the ALF and the ELF destroyed four trucks and leveled the offices of the Agricultural Fur Breeders Co-Op, causing about $1 million in damage.
MARCH 18, 1997
The "Bay Area Cell of the Earth X ALF" took credit for setting fire to the University of California, Davis, Center for Comparative Medicine facility, which was still under construction.
MARCH 18, 1997
Montgomery Furs, a trapping supply store, was torched by the ALF while a night watchman was inside. The watchman escaped unhurt.
APRIL 19, 1997
The ALF torched an Archer's Meats truck cab.
JULY 21, 1997
The ALF and ELF used napalm — which they referred to as "vegan Jell-O" — to destroy the Cavel West horse slaughtering plant.
AUG. 16, 1997
West Jordan, Utah
Four ALF activists burned a McDonald's restaurant to the ground, causing $400,000 in damage.
AUG. 17, 1997
Morton Grove, Ill.
The ALF threw two Molotov cocktails through a Cosmo's Furs window.
AUG. 19, 1997
Fort Collins, Colo.
The ALF claimed an arson attack on Wildlife Pharmaceuticals.
AUG. 26, 1997
The ALF torched several Jersey Cuts Meat Co. trucks, destroying three that were valued at $60,000 each.
FEB. 28, 1998
The Outdoorsman Sport Shop had its windows broken and was set on fire. ALF slogans were spray-painted at the shop.
MAY 4, 1998
The ALF claimed credit for burning down Florida Veal Processors Inc., causing $500,000 in damage.
JUNE 28, 1998
The ALF and ELF claimed responsibility for an arson at a U.S. Department of Agriculture Damage Control building.
JULY 16, 1998
The ALF claimed the destruction of a Steven Corn Furs truck.
OCT. 18, 1998
The ELF burned down the Vail Associates ski facility, destroying seven structures valued at more than $12 million.
NOV. 16, 1998
A van owned by the Leather and Fur Ranch was firebombed by the ALF.
NOV. 29, 1998
The ALF and the ELF claimed joint responsibility for an arson at the Bureau of Land Management's Wild Horse Corrals.
DEC. 26, 1998
The ELF claimed the $500,000 arson of a U.S. Forest Industries facility.
FEB. 18, 1999
Unidentified PETA activists were credited for throwing two pies at Procter & Gamble executive John Pepper to protest the company's animal testing.
MARCH 5, 1999
The "Biotic Baking Brigade" took credit for throwing a banana cream pie in Sierra Club staffer Charlie Raine's face to protest the Club's support of land exchanges between the government and timber companies.
MARCH 11, 1999
Three Biotic Baking Brigade activists threw pies at University of Wisconsin geneticist Neil First, who was speaking at the University of New Hampshire, to protest genetic engineering at UW. David Pike and Renee Medford were charged with assault.
MARCH 27, 1999
The ALF firebombed six Big Apple Circus vehicles, destroying two trucks.
APRIL 5, 1999
Laboratories at the University of Minnesota were vandalized and dozens of research animals stolen by the ALF, wrecking research into Alzheimer's and cancer.
MAY 9, 1999
ALF set a fire that destroyed a two-story office building, a shipping dock and a refrigeration unit at Childer's Meat Co., wreaking about $150,000 in damage.
MAY 10, 1999
Neah Bay, Wash.
Sea Defense Alliance activists Jake Conroy and Josh Harper (who would later work for Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty) were charged with felony assault after allegedly throwing ignited smoke canisters at a Makah tribe's whaling support vessel and firing a lighted flare across its bow.
JUNE 25, 1999
The ALF claimed the firebombing of a Worldwide Primates truck.
AUG. 7, 1999
ELF arsonists torched two fishing boats at the home of veterinarian James Boydston and spray-painted his garage door with "FUR IS MURDER, ELF."
AUG. 9, 1999
Mink feed supplier United Feeds was burned down by ALF at about the same time as an ALF raid and mink release at Gene Myer's Fur Farm, also in the Plymouth area.
AUG. 29, 1999
The ALF claimed an attack on a Bio-Devices Inc., research laboratory that resulted in $250,000 damage and the theft of 46 dogs.
AUG. 31, 1999
Fulton County, Ga.
The ALF burned down a McDonald's restaurant. PETA's Bruce Friedrich announced the crime on AR-News, an online animal rights news service.
SEPT. 23, 1999
The ALF claimed a failed arson at the Phippsburg Sportsmen's Association, where activists turned over coffee pots, left plastic cups on the burners, and turned on a gas line.
An ALF faction known as the Justice Department took credit for sending over 80 razor blade-laced envelopes, each containing a threatening letter with a picture of a bomb on it, to animal researchers, hunting guides and others in the United States and Canada. An ALF communiqué said some of the razor blades, which were positioned so as to slice open the fingers of anyone opening the envelopes, were coated in rat poison.
OCT. 22, 1999
The ALF claimed the torching of four Harris Furs vehicles.
NOV. 1, 1999
Four gasoline bombs were thrown into a Gap clothing store in an attack the FBI attributed to the ALF.
DEC. 4, 1999
Las Vegas, Nev.
PETA activist Dawn Carr hit rodeo showgirl Brandy DeJongh in the face with a pie moments after DeJongh was awarded the Miss Rodeo America 2000 crown.
DEC. 25, 1999
The ELF claimed responsibility for burning down logging firm Boise Cascade's regional headquarters.
DEC. 31, 1999
The ELF used accelerants to destroy $400,000 worth of property at Michigan State University in an action targeting Monsanto's genetically engineered products. The blaze was discovered by a faculty member working late inside the facility.
JAN. 3, 2000
The ALF set fire to buildings and trucks at Rancho Veal's meatpacking plant, causing $250,000 in damage.
JAN. 15, 2000
The ALF claimed credit for placing five incendiary devices in offices and trucks at a Petaluma Farms chicken farm (which "enslaves chickens for their eggs"). Two trucks were destroyed.
JAN. 23, 2000
The ELF claimed credit for torching a house under construction, causing some $200,000 in damage. "No Sprawl, ELF" was painted at the site.
JAN. 24, 2000
Redwood City, Calif.
The ALF claimed credit for attempting to burn down Primate Products, a medical research facility.
MAY 30, 2000
PETA activist Arathi Jayaram was charged with assault after throwing a pie at U.S. Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman at the National Nutrition Summit.
JULY 2, 2000
North Vernon, Ind.
The ALF took credit for burning a Rose Acre Farm chicken feed truck, causing $100,000 in damage. "Polluter, animal exploiter, your turn to pay," was spray-painted at the scene.
JULY 30, 2000
San Francisco, Calif.
Coalition to Abolish the Fur Trade activist Bhaskar Sinha was charged with battery after threatening rock star Ted Nugent outside a Neiman Marcus department store.
SEPT. 9, 2000
In an attack aimed at a highway project, the ELF claimed a minor fire at the Monroe County Republican Party headquarters that was meant as "a reminder to politicians."
NOV. 27, 2000
The ELF claimed responsibility for torching a $2.5 million Legend Ridge mansion.
DEC. 19, 2000
Miller Place, N.Y.
The ELF claimed credit for burning down a home under construction.
DEC. 29, 2000
Mount Sinai, N.Y.
The ELF took credit for burning down four new homes at Island Estates. Teenagers Jared McIntyre, Matthew Rammelkamp and George Mashkow III pleaded guilty to charges connected to the attack. Fellow teen Connor Cash was later indicted for arson, arson conspiracy and providing material support to terrorists.
JAN. 1, 2001
The ELF torched the Superior Lumber Co., causing $400,00 in damage. "This year," the ELF said, "we hope to see an escalation in tactics against capitalism."
JAN. 23, 2001
Peter Schnell and Matthew Whyte, both of the Animal Defense League, were found behind the Capitola City Hall with plastic milk bottles, gasoline and candles. After five containers of gasoline were found in Whyte's car, Schnell told police he was working on a "craft project." Authorities ultimately would sentence Schnell to 24 months and Whyte to 14 months in prison for attempted arson.
FEB. 20, 2001
The ELF claimed a fire at a research cotton gin owned by Delta & Pine Land, a firm accused of ties to Monsanto's genetically engineered seed program.
MARCH 2, 2001
Douglas County, Ore.
The ELF claimed responsibility for spiking trees at the Umpqua National Forest to prevent a timber sale.
MARCH 30, 2001
Thirty SUVs at Joe Romania's car dealership were torched, causing about $1 million in damage. The ELF said the attack was in support of Jeff "Free" Luers, who was serving a 23-year prison sentence, in part for torching cars at the same dealership.
APRIL 5, 2001
The ALF set fire to a National Food Corp. egg farm, causing $1.5 million in damage.
APRIL 15, 2001
The ELF claimed an arson attack, using time-delayed fuses, that caused $210,000 in damage to cement trucks at Ross Island Sand & Gravel.
MAY 21, 2001
The ALF set fire to the University of Washington's Center for Urban Horticulture, causing $5.6 million in damage and wrecking years of research on genetically altered poplar trees and similar projects.
JUNE 1, 2001
One logging truck was destroyed and two more damaged during an arson attack on Schoppert Logging trucks.
JUNE 12, 2001
Four under-construction luxury homes were set afire and "CSP," for Coalition to Save the Preserves, was found spray-painted at the site.
JUNE 14, 2001
New York, N.Y.
PETA activists aiming for fur designer Karl Lagerfeld missed and hit designer Calvin Klein with a tofu cream pie. Six members were charged with disorderly conduct and attempted assault.
Cowlitz County, Wash. The ELF claimed responsibility for spiking hundreds of trees slated for a timber sale in the Cowlitz Valley.
JULY 4, 2001
The ELF torched an executive office of logging giant Weyerhauser to protest the company's part in funding Oregon State University and the University of Washington's poplar and cottonwood genetic engineering research.
JULY 24, 2001
Sands Point, N.Y.
The "Pirates for Animal Liberation" claimed responsibility for unsuccessfully trying to sink a Bank of New York employee's 21-foot boat.
SEPT. 8, 2001
Saying the attack was meant "as a warning to corporations worldwide," the ALF and ELF claimed joint credit for the $500,000 arson of a McDonald's restaurant.
SEPT. 20, 2001
The ALF claimed a $1 million arson fire at Coulston Foundation's White Sands Research Center. Lab owner Dr. Fred Coulston had earlier had a bomb scare at his home and had also received razor blades in the mail.
OCT. 15, 2001
The ELF planted four firebombs at a Bureau of Land Management corral, burning down an $85,000 barn.
OCT. 24, 2001
Long Island, N.Y.
The "Special Operations: Huntingdon Life Sciences" cell of the ALF attacked Bank of America offices, smashing more than 30 windows and later boasting sarcastically that it had "joined the United States in their [sic] noble War Against Terrorism!"
NOV. 5, 2001
Idaho County, Idaho
The ELF claimed the spiking of trees in the Nez Perce National Forest to prevent a timber sale.
NOV. 5, 2001
After a series of ELF E-mail threats, suspected ELF activists planted incendiary devices at the U.J. Noblet Forestry Building and a U.S. Forest Service laboratory at Michigan Tech University. Security guards disarmed the devices.
NOV. 11, 2001
San Diego, Calif.
The ALF destroyed a contract animal research lab owned by Sierra Biomedical, causing $50,000 in damage.
JAN. 29, 2002
St. Paul, Minn.
The ELF claimed a $250,000 arson at the University of Minnesota's Microbial and Plat Genomics Research Center, which was under construction.
JAN. 29, 2002
The ELF and ALF jointly claimed the sabotage of a biotech plant being built for Jackson Labs, an animal testing business. Sand and mortar mix were used to wreck construction equipment at the site.
MARCH 24, 2002
Saying it was trying to stop a highway project, the ELF spiked trees and torched a $500,000 construction crane at a bridge worksite.
MAY 3, 2002
The ALF claimed a fire that destroyed a Sims Poultry truck.
JULY 10, 2002
Animal rights activists set off smoke bombs in two downtown buildings, sending 700 office workers fleeing into the streets. The targets were firms insuring Huntingdon Life Sciences, a company that does animal testing.