Crop destruction vandalism by eco-terrorists continues unabated. Fortunately for us, most is occurring in the United Kingdom and in Europe — home of GreenPeace and even wilder groups such as Bader Meinhof of the recent past in Germany.

The main targets thus far have been genetically modified (GM) ag test plots and research facilities. More than 40 attacks have been reported since 1999.

The problem is here in the United States as well. Just a few months ago the so-called anarchist Golfing Association destroyed between $300,000 and $400,000 worth of experimental turf grass. Even more recently a ski lodge in Colorado was torched.

The Earth Liberation Front supported by GreenPeace in the background seems to be taking the lead. If you want to be frightened just log into the Bioengineering Action Network's web page.

What to do?

In the South the Southern Crop Production Association is spearheading a drive in each of its 15 states to introduce and pass anti-crop destruction legislation. A model bill has been suggested for use in each state. Key components would 1) raise level of action to a felony which carries greater penalties, 2) allow treble damages for the value of the destroyed crops/facilities, plus punitive damages.

In many states the actual introduced legislation extends to any and all crops and animals, not just experimental GM or non-GM plots.

What is your state doing to pass this legislation which is much needed to protect our vital crops and facilities from wanton and willful destruction by the misguided and lawless enviro fringe?

SCPA's records show the following:

Alabama — soliciting sponsors.

Arkansas — SB799 — makes liable for double damages anyone who willfully and knowingly damages or destroys any field crop product that is grown for personal or commercial purposes, or for testing or research purposes in the context of a product development program in conjunction or coordination with a private research facility or a university or any federal, state, or local government agency.

Florida activity

Florida — H719 & SB1528 — provide that certain agricultural growers or producers shall have the right to recover damages as a result of willful and knowing damage or destruction of specified agricultural field crops; provide considerations and limits in award of damages; provide for costs and attorney's fees; prohibits trespass upon specified legally posted agricultural sites.

Georgia — HB 170 — Georgia Farm Animal and Research Facilities Act increases penalties levied against criminals who knowingly damage or destroy public or private agricultural research facilities. Damages greater than $500 will be considered a felony offense. Passed House Jan. 26 — voted out by Senate Ag Committee. Awaiting floor vote.

Mississippi — SB 2790 — passed Senate and House. Provides that a person who willfully destroys any field crop shall be liable for twice the value of the crop destroyed. Awaiting governor's signature.

North Carolina — HB 218 and SB 261 — Introduced Feb. 22 and Feb. 27. Provides for treble damages for the destruction of agricultural crops

South Carolina — soliciting sponsors.

Tennessee — HB 314 and SB 360. HB 314 passed House Gov't Operations; sent to House Agriculture on Feb. 27; SB 360 — to Senate Commerce, Labor & Agriculture on Feb. 7. Relates to bio-based products and alternative agricultural crops

Virginia act

Virginia — HB 2223 and SB1187 — Agricultural Research & Vandalism Act passed — awaiting governor's signature — much thanks to the Virginia Agribusiness Council Makes it a crime to maliciously damage or destroy any farm product that is grown or operated for testing or research purposes in the context of product development in conjunction with a private research facility or a university or any federal, state or local government and provides that a court shall determine the market value when awarding restitution. The crime is a Class 4 felony if the value of the product was $200 or more and a Class 1 misdemeanor if the value was less than $200.

If your state has not taken action, please call your local representative and find out why not. SCPA stands ready to assist in any way possible!