Arson is suspected in a fire that destroyed 14 trucks at one of California's largest cattle feeding operations, and an anonymous group of animal rights activists has claimed responsibility for the blaze.
No humans or animals were hurt in the fire, which was set between 3:30 a.m. and 3:45 a.m. Pacific Time Sunday at the Harris Farms feedlot in Fresno County, Calif. Several law enforcement agencies are investigating the incident, which also caused fire and smoke damage to several cattle trailers.
According to Mike Casey, the company's vice president of risk management and human resources, the company had not received any recent threats from animal activists.
"We did not sustain any interruption in our business, and we do not have an estimate yet of the extent of the damage," Casey said.
The feedlot typically has from 100,000 to 120,000 head of cattle on feed at any given time.
In an anonymous communiqué provided to the media, the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) indicated that "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." The group reported that "we were extremely pleased to see that all 14 trucks were a total loss" with some being "completely melted to the ground." The message ended with a call for other would-be terrorists to commit additional acts of violence against agriculture producers.