News of the WeekECOTERRORISM

Arson Strikes Research Labs and Tree Farm in Pacific Northwest

Science  01 Jun 2001:
Vol. 292, Issue 5522, pp. 1622-1623
DOI: 10.1126/science.292.5522.1622

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PORTLAND, OREGON-- Last week labs at the University of Washington, Seattle, suffered $3 million in damage from a fire believed to have been set by opponents of genetic engineering in plants. But the fire wound up destroying research that uses traditional plant breeding methods and mainstream ecology, not the types of activities normally targeted by ecoterrorists. On the same day, arsonists also destroyed two buildings and vehicles at an Oregon tree farm that uses traditional techniques to improve the stock. Some scientists see the scale of the two attacks, which authorities suspect were related, as a worrisome sign that ecoterrorists are increasingly moving beyond fighting agribusiness and many forms of commercial development to attacking fundamental research.