April 15, 2007
Animal rights extremists are targeting farmers at a rate of one
incident every nine days, raising fears that they are widening their
The number of incidents could be higher, it is thought, as not all are
reported to police.
The development comes after police success in curbing attacks on
animal research companies, such as Huntingdon Life Sciences, Europe's
largest contract medical testing centre, and companies involved in the
construction of a £20 million research centre at Oxford University.
The Animal Liberation Front claimed it had used sophisticated
electronic devices to detonate the bombs remotely and dedicated the
attack to the memory of Barry Horne, the activist who died in jail in
2001 after a hunger strike.
Other incidents have involved white powder being sent to farmers,
break-ins to farms, and threatening phone calls and emails.
The farm attacks warning has come from the National Extremism Tactical
Coordination Unit (Netcu), a police unit set up to combat animal
"You will always have people who object to the use of animals in
farming and take direct action. People do fear they are going to be
targeted and we are trying to reassure them," he said.
More than two thirds of the unit's work relates to attacks on animal
testing companies, but 18 per cent now concerns the farming industry,
including businesses selling foie gras, as well as other companies,
including circuses that keep captive animals.