Question Description

Discussion Questions: What is your position on the pursuit of eco-extremist and animal rights groups and/or individuals? Provide at least two possible deterrent and prevention methods you think would be useful in lessening the violent and destructive activity of these single-issue extremist groups.

Instructions: Fully utilize the materials that have been provided to you in order to support your response. Responses should be a minimum of 250 words and include direct questions. You may challenge, support or supplement another student’s answer using the terms, concepts and theories from the required readings. Also, do not be afraid to respectfully disagree where you feel appropriate; as this should be part of your analysis process at this academic level.

Forum posts are graded on timeliness, relevance, knowledge of the weekly readings, and the quality of original ideas. Sources utilized to support answers are to be cited in accordance with the APA writing style by providing a general parenthetical citation (reference the author, year and page number) within your post, as well as an adjoining reference list. Refer to grading rubric for additional details concerning grading criteria.

Respond to Craig:

My position on the pursuit of eco-extremists and animal rights groups. The mainstream environmental groups such as the Humane Society, Sierra Club, The Wilderness Society, and The Nature Conservatory are well-established, non-profit organizations that operate within the legal boundaries of the law. The Wilderness Society was created in 1935 and has more than one million members and supporters. The Nature Conservatory operates in over seventy-two countries and has been around for seven decades. The Sierra Club has more 3.5 million members and has been working since 1892 building parks and monuments along with defending everyone’s right to a healthy world. The Humane Society has been fighting for animals since 1954 with 1.1 million members. These four organizations are just a few but their supporters help the environment, help save animals, and protest all within the legal boundaries of the law. These four mainstream organizations were not changing things fast enough, so activists unhappy with the conservative approach founded a more controversial approach like Friends of the Earth in 1969, Greenpeace in 1971, Sea Shepherd in 1979, and PETA in 1980. These more in your face organizations were still not changing things fast enough. They splinted again into a more violent (arson is violence, breaking into facilities then causing destruction is violence) group of small cells no larger than twenty, like the Animal Liberation Front in 1976, Earth Liberation Front in 1992, Earth First! in 1980, and Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty in 1999. These last four groups are the extremists that have cost over $110 million dollars of damage (START, 2012). The extremists groups and individuals are the ones we need to pursue. Operation Backfire was a multi-agency criminal investigation of the violence the Animal Liberation Front and the Earth Liberation Front were conducting from 1996-2000. It was an extensive investigation that got the indictments of eighteen eco-terrorists. Unfortunately, we can only pursue those after they commit the crime. Preventing an individual or small cell from arson, sabotage, or thuggery is going to be difficult.

Provide a deterrent and prevention method

Every organization has members that will take issues outside the organization’s mission. Since radicalized members come from either the conservative base-groups or the more illicit environmental/animal rights groups, law enforcement may want to monitor the membership. I do not know the legal or constitution rights of getting the list of memberships can narrow the range when locating an extremist hiding in plain sight. The “60 Minutes” reported interviewed an eco-terrorist that was proud to the fact he was hiding in plain sight and nobody knew about the damage and violence he acted. This may assisted law enforcement to monitor individuals prone to acting violently. This may be a form of prevention. The prevention is monitoring unusual activity or unusual surveillance. These eco-terrorists are always gathering data about potential targets. They may even go as far as getting employed by the organization they want to attack. The most obvious deterrent is the negative press. Both eco-terrorist groups claim no individuals have been harmed but as the FBI believe it is only a matter of time. The negative press in murder or seriously injuring someone would villainize their cause. The arson at Vail Mountain Ski Resort caused $12 million of damage was not a victory for their cause. The loss of jobs and loss of tourist had a major economic effect in the area. This caused public opinion to regard these eco-terrorists as criminals. Public opinion is the difference between a hero and a villain.


Craig Brunner

Deshpande, N. & Ernest, H. (2012). “Countering Eco-Terrorism in the United States: the Case of ‘Operation Backfire’”. National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Response to Terrorism.