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agroterrorism food crop

Environmental Rights and Biological Agroterrorism

by Emma Dismukes


Agroterorrism is a form of environmental human rights offense. When an individual, group, or government intentionally introduces disease into the food production system, the results are detrimental to the public health and economic stability of the community.[1] The Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment has recognized the rights of people to enjoy a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment.[2] Agroterorrism directly undermines this right. This is a modern-day approach to biological warfare and is easily defined. There are instances, as scientific knowledge grows and adapt, that are not as black and white as they once appeared. These developments in technology may require an updated understanding of Agroterrorism and its impact on the human right to the environment.

Removing the autonomy of a subset of the community who most directly rely on the land for their wellbeing, and thereby limiting their access to cultivate food and earn a livable wage, is cruel and manipulative.  According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), “[a]groterrorism is a threat to national security and could result in increased human illnesses and deaths, widespread destruction of crops and livestock, and significant economic loss to the Nation’s farmers and ranchers.”[3] Attacks on agriculture affects both the national economy, as well as community well-being and security,[4] particularly “in the event of a public health scare resulting from foodborne outbreaks or the spread of animal pathogens contagious to humans.”[5]

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