BRUSSELS, Dec. 22 (Xinhua) -- The Netherlands will set up a special police unit to address radical actions against individuals and companies by animal rights activists, the Home Affairs Ministry said.
The special team, which also includes members from the public prosecution department and the Dutch intelligence service, will try to prevent dangerous intimidation practices by extreme animal rights organizations, Home Affairs Minister Guusje ter Horst was quoted by local newspaper De Telegraaf as saying Sunday.
The decision followed repeated attacks on company or individual properties in the Netherlands by animal rights activists.
The latest one occurred early Saturday morning when two cars of a top executive of NYSE Euronext Amsterdam stock exchange, which were parked in front of his home in the western Dutch town of Wassenaar, were set on fire.
The shares of Huntingdon Life Sciences, a British animal testing center, are traded on Euronext.
Although no one has claimed responsibility for the attack, a similar attack last month on a former senior executive of Euronext in the central Dutch town of Hilversum was claimed by an animal rights group.
In March, several houses of Euronext executives were covered with graffiti after British animal activists published their personal details on websites. The website called on visitors to send unwanted e-mails to the executives every day.
The violence used by activists is "very dangerous" and "an unacceptable form of intimidation directed at people who are simply doing their job," Ter Horst told Dutch TV broadcaster NOS on Sunday. "We must come down hard on it," she said.
The new Dutch team is modeled on a similar British force combating animal rights extremism.
In reaction to Saturday's attack, a spokesman for the Dutch animal rights group Respect for Animals said such sort of attack is acceptable.
"We think the fact that animals are used in pointless experiments is worse. Cars do not have feelings," he said.