Animal rights activists have claimed responsibility for sabotaging two mobile slaughter units in Oregon’s Willamette Valley.
The activists anonymously reported pouring corrosive chemicals into the vehicles’ fuel tanks in recent weeks, according to Bite Back magazine, which publicizes such incidents.
In the most recent incident, activists targeted Shoe’s Mobile Slaughter and Processing during the weekend of June 21-22, according to the anonymous report.
Pouring bleach into the fuel tank was intended to corrode and disrupt the unit’s fuel system, preventing the slaughter of animals, the report said.
“The method of sabotage was chosen because it is silent, effective and easily reproducible,” the report said. “Direct intervention is necessary to free imprisoned non-humans and destroy the machines that facilitate their exploitation.”
The anonymous report has caused some confusion because it names Shoe’s Mobile Slaughter and Processing of Stayton as the target, but provides the address of another slaughter facility in Sublimity as the site of the incident.
If Shoe’s unit was affected by the activists’ actions, then “their timing was perfect,” said Chris Shoe, the company’s owner.
Shoe replaced the truck that moves his slaughter unit on June 23, so the activists would have damaged his old vehicle, he said.
“It’s actually pretty dang funny,” Shoe said. “That old truck is going to the scrap yard.”
Capital Press was unable to reach the owner of the Sublimity facility as of press time.
In a previous incident, animal rights activists claim to have similarly sabotaged a vehicle owned by the Meating Place in Hillsboro, Ore., on June 14.
Keith Miller, the company’s owner, said he was unaware of the problem until he was contacted by a federal investigator about the anonymous report.
He then siphoned fuel from the tank and “it was yellow, so they obviously did something to it,” Miller said.
“I was a little shocked, but I guess we should have been more prepared for crazy people,” he said.
A fuel sample is being tested and Miller has idled his truck until the extent of the damage is certain.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation told the Capital Press that the agency is aware of the incidents but can’t comment whether it has launched an investigation.
“We obviously take great interest in any criminal actions taken against local businesses, and we encourage anyone with information to give us a call,” said a spokesperson for FBI’s Portland office.
Jerry Haun, executive secretary of the Northwest Meat Processors Association, said he has never heard of such sabotage cases in more than three decades in the industry.
The incidents don’t come as a complete surprise, however, Haun said.
Unlike large USDA-inspected slaughter facilities, where “you can’t just walk in,” mobile units are an easier and more visible target, he said.
“We’re a bit more vulnerable,” Haun said.
Similar mobile slaughter companies should be vigilant and may want to install better lighting and security equipment, as well as locking fuel tanks, he said.
“These people aren’t going to let you know they’re coming,” Haun said.
Anyone with information about the cases can reach the FBI office in Portland at 503-224-4181 and the Salem office at 503-362-6601.