Today, the FBI announced that it has placed an animal rights activist on its list of “Most Wanted” terror suspects. The activist, Daniel Andreas San Diego is the first “domestic terrorist” to make the list. San Diego is wanted for the bombings of two companies conducting animal research. The bombs caused only “minor damage” according to news reports. The FBI has issued a $250,000 reward for information leading to the capture of San Diego, an amount that is five times higher than rewards offered for other so-called “eco-terrorists” and “animal rights extremists.”
The bombings were undertaken as part of an international campaign called Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC). SHAC was an international direct action campaign that sought to put Huntingdon Life Sciences–Europe’s largest contract animal testing corporation–out of business. Activists targeted not only Huntingdon, but also investors, business partners, and other companies that had a relationship with Huntingdon. Over the years, SHAC almost brought the company to the bring of collapse.
Bombing was Notable Escalation of Rhetoric
The bombing was claimed by a group called “The Revolutionary Cells” in a strongly-worded communique that marked an escalation in rhetoric by animal rights activists:
It is time for this war to truely have two sides. No more will all of the killing be done by the oppressors, now the oppressed will strike back. We will be non-violent when the these people are non-violent to the animal nations.
The communique was full of references to personal harm towards the scientists engaged in animal research. At the time, Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) wrote:
Never before has the otherwise completely nonviolent animal rights movement witnessed such threatening rhetoric and explicitly aggressive intentions. SHAC does not materially, vocally or strategically support the use of violence against any human or animal. SHAC does not support terrorism.
Since 2003, other actions claimed by The Revolutionary Cells–an autonomously and loosely structured group that likely has no defined membership–have also targeted scientists doing animal research at UCLA, but no lives have been harmed.
The radical animal rights movement has also largely continued to use its traditional tactics–harassment and economic sabotage–rather than adopting the more violent approach advocated by The Revolutionary Cells.