The National Cattlemen's Beef Association is blasting the federal Environmental Protection Agency for releasing detailed information on Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations to activist groups.
According to NCBA, the information was requested by the groups-including the Pew Charitable Trust, Earth Justice and the Natural Resources Defense Council-through the Freedom of Information Act. The immediate past president of NCBA, J.D. Alexander, says the fact that EPA granted the request is, in his words, "mind-boggling."
"This action by the EPA is actually almost unbelievable," Alexander says. "I just can't comprehend their irresponsibility in releasing this information to known ag opposition groups that could pose some very terroristic attacks on our industry."
In addition to bio-security concerns, Alexander says the release of information makes it much easier for activists to harass farm and ranch families.
"You know, beef producers are usually pretty private people," he says, "and one of the big things that is of concern is when-I'll use myself as an example-my name, my address, pertinent things about my private business are out there for known terrorist groups to have access to."
Alexander points to an incident that took place in California in January of 2012, when an activist group called the Animal Liberation Front used arson to destroy 14 trucks at California's largest feed yard, Harris Ranch Feedlot of Coalinga.
NCBA says the information released by EPA cover CAFOs in more than 30 states.