Animal rights group claims credit for Calif. arson

By the Associated Press | January 10, 2012 | 8:05 PM EST

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — Authorities in California are looking into animal rights activists' claims that they caused the fire that destroyed 14 big-rig tractors and several trailers at the state's biggest beef operation.

Activists claimed responsibility for the fire at Harris Farms in an email released by the North American Animal Liberation Press Office. The email includes a detailed description of how the fire was lit at the state's largest cattle feeder, beef processor and beef marketer.

Fresno County sheriff's spokesman Chris Curtice said Tuesday that investigators are looking into the claim, among several other leads.

Investigators say the arson fire started around 4 a.m. Sunday at Harris Farms' Coalinga (koh-LING'-guh) property.

Mike Casey, a spokesman for the company, says it has not received any recent threats from animal rights activists.