Animal rights activists take credit for blaze at cattle ranch

January 10, 2012
Los Angeles TimesAnimal rights activists are taking credit for setting fire to a fleet of cattle trucks at a Central Valley ranch that is the state’s largest processor of beef.A statement from the purported arsonists said the fire, which destroyed or damaged 14 tractors and several trailers at Harris Ranch, was aimed at the “the horrors of factory farming,” The Fresno Bee reported.

The statement was released by the Animal Liberation Press Office, which spokeswoman Nicoal R. Sheen said does not participate in illegal actions but distributes statements and communiques from those who do.

The statement, the Bee reported, said that those who set the fire “were extremely pleased to see that all 14 trucks ‘were a total loss.'” Fresno County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Chris Curtice said detectives are looking into the claim.

The fire erupted early Sunday at the ranch, and several of the rigs were engulfed in flames by the time authorities arrived. It took firefighters about 45 minutes to knock down the blaze.

John Harris, the chairman and chief executive of the ranch, told the Bee that said he was “appalled” and alarmed by the apparent attack. “I had suspected Animal Liberation Front may have been involved and now they are in fact claiming responsibility for it with multiple details,” he said. Harris said the fire has not affected operations at the ranch and only served to reinforce the company’s resolve to produce quality beef.

The statement offered details of how the fire allegedly started: “Containers of accelerant were placed beneath a row of 14 trucks with four digital timers used to light four of the containers and kerosene-soaked rope carrying the fire to the other 10. … We were extremely pleased to see that all 14 trucks ‘were a total loss.'”

The statement ends on an ominous note: “Until next time.”