Attacks on the global food chain from animal-rights and environmental extremists jumped 42 percent — from 155 in 2007 to 220 in 2008, reports the Animal Agriculture Alliance. Worse yet, claimed attacks on food retailers in the United States from groups like the Animal Liberation Front exploded 377 percent.

The alliance compiled information from a variety of sources, which shows that the Animal Liberation Front, Environmental Liberation Front, DBF (a group associated with ELF) and related groups claimed a total of 640 acts of sabotage, vandalism and arson in 2008, up from 467 in 2007 — more than a 35 percent increase. The overall level of animal-rights extremist attacks in the United States on businesses that use animals — including medical research, consumer product safety, pets, circuses, rodeos, fur shops, hunting stores, farmers, ranchers, food retailers — increased nearly 40 percent.

Even more troubling is the massive expansion of damages inflicted upon food retailers. Claimed attacks on food retailers in the United States, especially McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC and Hardee’s, increased from nine in 2007 to 34 in 2008.

Destroying or defacing property were the most frequent methods that extremist groups used to intimidate food-chain businesses.

In terms of terrorist activities, global animal-rights extremist groups have combined to claim more than 600 separate terrorist acts, including arson, firebombing autos and trucks, paint bombs, death threats, theft, cutting off utilities to restaurants, hacking Web sites and much more.

Extremists claimed responsibility for the “liberation” of thousands of animals during the year and millions of dollars in damage. Mexico appears to be an emerging center for animal-rights terrorism. In 2008, extremist groups in Mexico claimed more than double the amount of attacks than were claimed in the United States.

“We have seen a significant change (in the United States) in extremist activity directed against the food chain,” says Kay Johnson Smith, Animal Agriculture Alliance’s executive vice president. “The numbers of attacks against food retailers in hotbeds of extremism like California and New York were noticeably lower, while attacks in other areas not widely associated with animal-rights extremism increased markedly.”

She points to the greater Kansas City, Kan., area as the home of a new ALF cell. In Georgia, ALF claimed five actions. North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah and Texas all claimed ALF actions.

“All companies in the food chain need to be vigilant, enhance their security efforts and be sure to report all incidents to their local
police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation,” Johnson Smith adds.

For more information on securing your facilities, e-mail the Animal Agriculture
Alliance at info@animalagalliance.org or click here.