Eco-terrorism a Legitimate, and Costly, Threat

By

Steven Hedlund

Published on
March 4, 2008

The everyday responsibilities of buying and selling seafood leave precious little time to plan for an improbable act of eco-terrorism. But the threat is real - an eco-terrorist group allegedly set ablaze three luxury show homes in a Seattle suburb on Monday, causing $7 million in damage. The group, the Earth Liberation Front, is tied to the Animal Liberation Front, which vandalized a Chicago seafood distributor five years ago.

Supreme Lobster & Seafood Co. was the victim of the January 2003 eco-terrorism act. Vandals cut the lines to the brakes and refrigerators in 48 delivery vehicles, causing about $50,000 in damage. Spray-painted on a bay door of the company's facility was the message "AFL - No Breaks."

Since 2003, the AFL, ELF and other eco-terrorist groups have caused more than $200 million in property damage in the United States, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Eco-terrorists are difficult to catch because they're secretive and loosely organized.

But law-enforcement officials and lawmakers are becoming more cognizant of eco-terrorism. FBI Deputy Assistant Director John Lewis called eco-terrorism "the No. 1 domestic terrorism threat" during a May 2005 congressional hearing. President Bush in November 2006 signed into law the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, giving the Department of Justice more authority to apprehend, prosecute and convict animal-rights activists who commit eco-terrorism acts.

Though few and far between, eco-terrorism is a legitimate threat to the seafood industry. Protecting your business may be as simple as parking your delivery vehicles in a secured lot or installing surveillance cameras - measures you'd take to prevent theft.

Laughing off eco-terrorists as idealistic, tree-hugging adolescents won't get you far when your property is vandalized or product mysteriously goes missing.

Best regards,
Steven Hedlund
Associate Editor
SeaFood Business

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