Utah farmers and ranchers are being warned that environmental extremists may kill livestock on public ranges during the fall hunting seasons - and make it look as if hunters killed the animals.
Utah Farm Bureau officials said recent publications by Earth First! contain information on how anti-cattle and anti-hunting people can go out, especially during the hunting seasons, and shoot cattle with rifles or bows and arrows and make it look like the work of hunters.Rudy Lukez, Salt Lake City, conservation chairman of the Utah chapter of the Sierra Club, said his organization is completely opposed to eco-terrorism. "We in no way condone such activities.
"Utah Sierra Club members have put up a reward for information leading to the arrest of those who killed those cattle in southern Utah earlier this year. We encourage people to turn in eco-terrorists.
"Such actions are counterproductive and very illegal. People who engage in such activity should be arrested," Lukez said.
Arizona Game & Fish Department officials recently sent out letters to farmers in that state warning them to "keep your eyes open when in the field because what may look like a hunter might in fact be an eco-terrorist looking to shoot cattle."
Tom Spalding, deputy director of the Arizona Game & Fish Department, said he doesn't want farm animals killed and doesn't want hunters blamed for what eco-terrorists might do.
Utah Farm Bureau Executive Vice President C. Booth Wallentine said that Earth First! publications have provided advice on how not to get caught shooting livestock.
"Earth First! articles say, `Hunting season is a good time to cow hunt because there will be many folks out there with rifles and bows and arrows.'
"But they also warn the eco-terrorists to be careful because, their articles say, `with more people out, hunting, there is a greater chance that you will be seen, so be careful.' "
Wallentine said more farm animals have been killed in Utah recently by vandals than in any other Western state.
He said trees have been spiked and farm and ranch buildings burned and there is a campaign to rid public lands of cattle.
Utah authorities are still trying to solve the killing of 21 cattle in Garfield County in March and the burning of several farm buildings.
Garfield County commissioners say they believe the cattle killings are the work of environmental terrorists.