Earth Liberation Front Elf This Is a Case Study

Excerpt from Case Study :

Earth Liberation Front (ELF)

This is a case study on Earth Liberation Front (ELF), which is an extremist group emerged to protect the Mother Nature. ELF's origin, structure, leadership, motivations, and goals have been included as the primary elements of analysis in the case study. These aspects have come under analysis to provide an understanding about the group. Since this group is also considered as one of the terrorist groups that are dangerous to the human society, hence, the threats posed by this eco-terrorist group have come under comprehensive assessment. Lastly, discussion on the effectiveness of the policies intended to combat the group has been made. The reasons of the fight against the group have also been incorporated.

Case Study on Earth Liberation Front (ELF)


Crime and criminal activities have been witnessed since centuries amongst societies from all over the world that has only accelerated with time. Numerous people have made them associated with plentiful of such extremist groups that are involved in illegal activities with negative impacts on society. This simply leads to the fact that terrorist activities have now become a more widespread in the mundane life of an individual.

Taking into account the series of criminal or extremist activities, one can visibly notice that these activities are not confined to any one country or civilization; rather, it is being witnessed on a more universal basis. The people of developing nations, as well as the under-developed countries, have come under its adverse impacts. The extremist, revolutionary, and terrorist groups are usually formed to accomplish with specific agendas due to which they bring destruction to the human civilization or property.

In this regard, Earth Liberation Front (ELF) has been observed as one of the extremist groups performing subtle and illegal activities that have affected a huge percentage of the population of various countries in the present times. Earth Liberation Front is also termed as Elves wherein a cluster of independent individuals are associated to impede and bring to a halt to the damage being done to the environment and nature. In order to prevent the environment from being destructed, this group brings in economic damage and disruptions. This economic destruction is in the form of damage to various kinds of properties (Rosebraugh, 2004).

Earth Liberation Front is not a very old extremist group; instead, its foundations have been laid in the latter years of the twentieth century. Nevertheless, the people of this movement rapidly expanded to various parts of the world with no time. Today, it is being operated on a global basis where more than fifteen countries report their actions of economic sabotage. Media and a few television programs (in the initial years of the twenty-first century) have been key sources from where the general population gained awareness about this movement. However, ELF gained more public attention when a documentary made on this group was nominated for awards. Moreover, ELF has been in close correlation and collaboration with Animal Liberation Front (ALF) due to which this movement is highly considered as a descendent of ALF (Rosebraugh, 2004).

The people who support this movement claim that it is an eco-defense group that is safeguarding the environment and ecosystem of the world that is being devastated in the name of advancements and innovations. While on the other hand, the governmental agencies involved in counter-terrorist activities (such as FBI -- Federal Bureau of Investigation) categorize ELF as eco-terrorist group. Moreover, it is also said that the members of this movement spread domestic terror and have become a great threat in the United States (Rosebraugh, 2004).

This case study includes an analysis about this movement in an extensive manner as well as a comprehensive assessment on the threats being posed by this extremist group. Indeed, an in-depth discussion on the effectiveness of policies to combat has also been incorporated.

Analysis of Earth Liberation Front's (ELF)

ELF's Origin

The original Earth Liberation Front was established almost thirty four years back in the latter years of the decade of 1970s under the name Environmental Life Force (ELF). John Hanna has been the identified name as the originator and father who initiated the concept of this movement. This movement initiated so that they can put an end to the guerrilla attacks that peaked at that time. Unfortunately, they received an appallingly negative response from the general public. Moreover, it was not even able to accomplish and fulfill the goals defined by the movement, due to which the original ELF crumbled and fell apart in a very less time (Best & Nocella, 2006).

However, Environmental Life Force came into the emergence after several years that continued the beliefs and values of the Environmental Life Force. The new name of the movement was Earth Liberation Front, and it came into existence in the early years of the decade of 1990s. This movement initiated its operations from England and is the existing one in the contemporary times that have continued to their fight so that they can save the environment from being destroyed (Best & Nocella, 2006).

The members of the new ELF significantly applied same philosophies, plans, strategies, tactics, and campaigns, which implies that the new ELF reflected a mirror image with respect to the protection of the environment. This also signifies that the new ELF continued to practice the same guidelines as the old ELF (Best & Nocella, 2006). Moreover, due to strong collaboration and cooperation between Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and the ELF, these two movements have also been considered as sister-concern movements. This new version of the movement gained popularity with no time, and an increasing number of people exhibited their interest to be a part of it and be associated with the ELF (Leader & Probst, 2003).

The earliest action that gained prominence happened within two years of the establishment of the movement, before that, no actions were documented or gained such eminence. After few operations that caused the people huge financial losses in the UK, this movement received exposure (from some magazine) in front of the citizens of the country, which also stated the objectives on which the members of the ELF focused (Best & Nocella, 2006).

Soon after, the ELF expanded its operations to various parts of Europe that included Holland, New Zealand, Poland, Russia, Germany, France, Spain, and so on. This expansion was not confined all across Europe, as members of the movement became international and initiated operations to various other parts of the world as well (Best & Nocella, 2006).

United States has been another prime target nation for the ELF movement where it spread out its tasks from the middle years of the 1990s. Their continued actions of property damage not only gave them attention on a national level, but, this group has also received a new name of eco-terrorists. Since then, the ELF movement has become a huge threat to the domestic terror that only increased with time (Best & Nocella, 2006).

The series of criminal activities that have come into the limelight within the two decades as the operations of the ELF movement includes vandalizing, arson, theft, sabotage, and so on. Few reported incidences across Europe include vandalizing of well-known fast food restaurants, sabotage of airport with sophisticated vehicles in Germany, Holland, and Poland, setting a wildlife museum on fire in British Columbia, and many others. While in the U.S., this extremist group used diverse tactics like spray-painted and glued the locks of well-known restaurants, throwing of cocktails on various buildings to sabotage them. Few other incidences include attacks on railway lines, which were in response to the deforestation caused by this construction, burning of automobile dealerships, and so forth (Best & Nocella, 2006).

All the activities and operations carried out by the ELF movement were to make the countries realize the destruction and the damage they are causing to the environment. Property damage has been their most powerful strategy through which they caused the nations with huge financial losses (Best & Nocella, 2006).

ELF's Structure

Earth Liberation Front movement is a collective group wherein a number of independent individuals are associated. When talking about the structure of the ELF, no centralized location has been set up by this movement. This international group is a secretive and subversive organization where the leadership, control, and hierarchical chain of command are purely decentralized with no official, formal or central management. This simply indicates the fact that the members of the ELF work in autonomy and independently and no member can call them the leader of the group. Members of the movement usually execute operations in small sub-groups (as a team). Furthermore, all the financial needs and requirements are fulfilled by the movement itself, which implies that no external source aid them financially (Leader & Probst, 2003).

No designed structure is the basis of the movement; rather, this movement has emerged from an ideology. A set of principles is the guiding rules on which the members of the group operate. Any individual who strictly believes in…

Sources Used in Document:


Best, S. & Nocella, A.J. (2006). Igniting a Revolution: Voices in Defense of Mother Earth. USA: AK PressINC.

Ferrante, J. (2010). Seeing Sociology: An Introduction. USA: Cengage Learning.

Jarboe, J.F. (2002). Testimony, FBI -- The Threat of Eco-Terrorism. The FBI - Federal Bureau of Investigation. Retrieved from:

Leader, S.H. & Probst, P. (2003). The Earth Liberation Front and Environmental Terrorism. Journal of Terrorism and Political Violence, 15(4), 37-58. DOI: 10.1080/09546550390449872

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