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Eco-terrorism is a crime committed to save nature. Eco-terrorism, like any form of terrorism, is committing arson and burglary, trespassing, issuing death threats, and engaging in malicious destruction of property and vandalism-usually against farmers, ranchers, miners, loggers, researchers, manufacturers or home builders. The FBI defines eco-terrorism as the threatened use of violence of a criminal nature against innocent victims or property by an environmentally-oriented, sub-national group for environmental-political reasons, or aimed at an audience beyond the target, often of a symbolic nature.

In the name of political or ideological zealotry, environmental terrorists deliberately destroy or manipulate the environment. They criminally trespass property of companies and obstruct their operations, sabotage company equipment in order to make them unsuitable for commercial use. Activities of many animal-liberation groups include destruction of property in stores that sell products made of fur and the bombing of laboratories that perform experiments on animals.


[edit] ‘Monkeywrenching’

Some environmentalists were inspired by two books - The Monkey Wrench Gang (1975) by Edward Abbey, a former forest ranger, and Ecodefense: a Field Guide to Monkeywrenching (1985) by Dave Foreman. The Earth Liberation Front (ELF), one of the frontrunners in environmental terrorism along with Animal Liberation Front (ALF), advocates "monkeywrenching", which includes tree spiking, arson, sabotage of logging or construction equipment, and other types of property destruction. These acts are primarily directed at entities which are perceived to be damaging to the natural environment.

The Animal Liberation Front’s terrorism is directed mostly at university research centers that use animals in experiments and also industries which they believe do animal testing. The ELF is reported to have openly claimed to have caused damages to industries worth $55 million in 2003 alone.

[edit] Eco-Terrorism Turns Sophisticated

Over the years eco terrorism too has become sophisticated. Eco terrorists too have formed terror cells and have carefully designed acts of destruction. They too feel justified in taking human lives for the environment.

Extreme animal rights and environmental activists in the US alone have caused more than $100 million in damage during the past two decades by their acts of arsons, bombings, vandalism and harassment. In the name of ecology, fast-food restaurants have been bombed and car dealerships and housing developments burned.

People too have been targeted. They include those working for companies which are perceived as harming animals or destroying the environment.

[edit] Indirect Killings of Sick and Poor

It may be true that the bombings and arson of eco terrorists have not killed anyone yet. But eco terrorist attacks, against what environmentalists criticize as “unnatural” scientific research, indirectly kills the most vulnerable members of our society, people who depend on animal research and biotechnology innovations such as gene-splicing. In the third world, biotechnology is used to fortify food with special ingredients to make sure poor children get the required nutrients. Similarly terrorist acts against life-saving research indirectly affect the sick and the poor who depend on the ability of scientists to do their work.

[edit] Environmental Movement to Eco-Terrorism

The environmental movement began in the late 19th century based on concern about protecting the countryside in Europe and the wilderness in the United States from the consequences of the Industrial Revolution. Early environmentalists believed it should be the government’s responsible to take care of the environment and conserve the resources.

Early environmental organizations were mostly lobbyist groups whose main concern was nature conservation, wildlife protection, and the pollution from industrial development and urbanization. Green political movements emerged in the 1960s in the form of activist nongovernmental organizations and environmentalist political parties. A small number among them formed activist groups who engaged themselves in eco-terrorism.

This group believed violent treatment of nature, especially in the logging and mining industries called for violent handling of the situation. Violence was, thereby, justified from their point of view

[edit] Criminal Law Required

A new criminal law is required to confront environmental terrorism. A law prohibiting ecocide-the intentional or reckless manipulation or destruction of any aspect of the physical environment will provide a mechanism for punishing environmental terrorists within existing legal structures while validating societal condemnation of such conduct.

[edit] References

  • Eco-Terrorism — Not just pipe bombs anymore
  • Extremism in Animal Rights
  • Environmental Terrorism
  • History of the environmental movement