Animal Rights Extremists: Low Threat in New Jersey

The threat of violence from animal rights extremists in New Jersey is low because laws passed in recent years are having a deterrent effect and some previously extremist organizations have shifted to public outreach campaigns and nonviolent action to push their political agenda. From 2001-06, there were eight documented cases of animal rights extremism in New Jersey; since that time, none have been reported. 

  • In 2006, six members of New Jersey-based Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) were convicted of “animal enterprise terrorism.” Following this conviction, the US Congress passed the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, which has prevented animal rights extremists from targeting corporations for fear of being branded domestic terrorists. On July 24, the FBI arrested two individuals on terrorism charges for allegedly releasing more than 5,000 minks from farms and vandalizing homes and businesses associated with the fur industry across the country. None of the arrests or incidents occurred in New Jersey.
  •  In August 2013, Governor Christie signed “Patrick’s Law” to increase penalties for animal abuse, and this February, the Pet Purchase Protection Act was signed in New Jersey to end “puppy mills” that focused on increasing profit by overbreeding dogs in conditions hostile to animal welfare.
  • Since 2006, most animal rights extremists have used nonviolent action, such as protests against animal testing at New Jersey-based university laboratories and pharmaceutical companies. Nearby in Philadelphia, Hugs for Puppies—a group previously associated with SHAC—changed its name to the Humane League in 2005; the Humane League now focuses on animal advocacy through public education and corporate campaigns.

Download PDF Version

For more information, please contact NJOHSP's Analysis Bureau at or 609-584-4000.