It’s clear from last week’s Earth Liberation Front arson in Utah and the recent arrest of seven SHAC (Stop Huntington Animal Cruelty) militants that animal-rights violence is an escalating threat. In 2002 Congressional testimony, FBI special agent James Jarboe described animal liberation and environmental extremism as “the most dangerous domestic terrorist threat to the country.” Now a top FBI official has warned that these thugs are targeting more than a thousand companies.

At a recent biotechnology conference, the supervisory special agent assigned to the FBI’s domestic terrorism operations unit said that his agency has obtained a list of 1,100 businesses that animal-rights extremists plan to target. “As far as I know,” Agent Phil Celestini warned, “every U.S. company attending this conference is on that list.” According to the San Francisco Chronicle:

Celestini noted that some eight years ago, anti-government militias and white supremacists were America’s most dangerous domestic terrorism threat. Today, eco-terrorists and animal-rights zealots are the big problem.

They are indeed a very big problem. Take the example of federal fugitive Daniel Andreas San Diego, who has been featured on America’s Most Wanted and is believed to be behind the 2003 bombings of the SHAC-targeted Chiron and Shaklee Corporations. One of those bombings included a “secondary device,” timed to go off once fire and rescue workers arrived on the scene. A note claiming responsibility for one of San Diego’s alleged bombings coldly threatens: “We will now be doubling the size of every device we make. Today it is 10lbs, tomorrow 20 … until your buildings are nothing more than rubble.”

Targeted companies know that human lives are at stake. Animal-rights violence promoter Jerry Vlasak has advocated the murder of scientists engaging in life-saving research that requires the use of animals. According to Vlasak: “I don’t think you’d have to kill — assassinate — too many … I think for 5 lives, 10 lives, 15 human lives, we could save a million, 2 million, 10 million non-human lives.”