Incident Summary:

11/30/1997: Five members of the Animal and Earth Liberation Fronts (ALF and ELF), Jacob Ferguson, Kevin Tubbs, Josephine Overaker, William Rodgers, and Rebecca Rubin, freed horses and set arson to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Wild Horse Corral near Burns, Oregon in the United States, causing over $190,000 in damages. The perpetrators placed incendiary devices at three locations in the barn and at two other locations, next to and inside a new tractor parked near the barn, then released the 500 horses, and placed different locks on the gates to the access road to block first responders from the scene. There were no casualties in the incident. A dozen horses escaped, but were subsequently recaptured, and none were injured. The BLM Horse Corral was targeted because the perpetrators had read an article about an auction of wild horses in which buyers would adopt the horses and then sell them at a higher price to slaughterhouses, so the group wanted to "help halt the BLM’s illegal and immoral business of rounding up wild horses from public lands and funneling them to slaughter," as they stated in their released communiqué, claiming responsibility for the incident.



United States

North America

region/u.s. state:


Near Burns

Attack Information
Type of Attack (more) Facility/Infrastructure Attack
Successful Attack? (more) Yes
Target Information (more)
Target Type: Government (General)
Name of Entity Bureau of Land Management
Specific Description Bureau of Land Management, Wild Horse Corrals near Burns, OR
Nationality of Target United States
Additional Information
Hostages No
Ransom No
Property Damage Yes
Extent of Property Damage Minor (likely < $1 million)
Value of Property Damage $193,098.00
Weapon Information
Type Sub-type
Incendiary Gasoline or Alcohol
Sabotage Equipment
Weapon Details
Additional Information
Suicide Attack?No
Part of Multiple Incident?No
Criterion 1 (more) Yes
Criterion 2 (more) Yes
Criterion 3 (more) Yes
Additional Information The incident occurred at about 8:00am with smoke from the arson being detected at about 8:45am. The perpetrators were part of a group calling themselves "The Family," which committed nearly 20 acts of arson and ecotage over a 6 year period. Ferguson became a government informant and witness, landing him a sentence of 2 years probation, Tubbs was sentenced to 12 years and 7 months in prison for his involvement, and Overtaker and Rubin remained fugitive. William Rodgers was initially charged by complaint in this case but committed suicide while in custody awaiting transportation back to Oregon.
Perpetrator Group Information
Group Name Group Sub-name Claimed Responsibility
Animal Liberation Front (ALF) The Family Yes (Confirmed: Unknown; Mode: Letter)
Earth Liberation Front (ELF) The Family Yes (Confirmed: Unknown; Mode: Letter)
Perpetrator Statistics
Number of Perpetrators 5
Number of Captured Perpetrators 3
Casualty Information
Total Number of Casualties 0 Fatalities / 0 Injured
Total Number of Fatalities 0
Number of U.S. Fatalities 0
Number of Perpetrator Fatalities 0
Total Number of Injured 0
Number of U.S. Injured 0
Number of Perpetrators Injured 0
U.S. Government’s Sentencing Memorandum for CR 06-60069, CR 06-60070, CR 06-60071, CR 06-60078, CR 06-60079, CR 06-60080, CR 06-60120, CR 06-60122, CR 06-60123, CR 06-60124, CR06-60125, and CR 06-60126. U.S. District Court: District of Oregon, Eugene, 2007.
Legal Affairs Editors, "Animal Liberation Front and Earth Liberation Front Members Sentenced in Oregon for Acts of Eco-Terrorism in Five Western States," PR Newswire Association LLC, Public Interest Services, June 5, 2007.
"Animal-rights groups say responsible for fire," The Daily News, Bowling Green, December 7, 1997.