In late August, Animal Liberation Front extremists broke into a farm in Sultan, Washington and released approximately 10,000 mink.
The activists broke open cages at the Roesler Brothers Fur Farm causing damages estimated at more than half a million dollars.
Most of the released animals were recaptured, but not before doing significant damage at other farms in the area.
Washington farmer Jeff Weaver told the Associated Press that the released mink converged on his farm where they killed at least 25 animals, including geese, chicken and ducks. Weaver told the AP,
Over half our livestock was shredded. Murdered. Eaten alive. . . One of the mink had part of a chicken in its mouth and was headed for the creek. They’re starving. They’ll kill anything in their path.
Weaver estimated his losses at about $2,000.
But those who support such actions said that the net increase in animal well being was worth it. Andrew Knight, director of research at the Northwest Animal Rights Network, told the Associate Press,
The amount of suffering that has been prevented by releasing them [the mink] from cramped cages and freeing them from an extremely cruel death more than justifies a temporary disruption to the ecosystem.
The FBI is investigating the incident and the Fur Commission USA is offering a $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible.
Scores of freed mink feed on farm animals. Associated Press, August 30, 2003.
Animal rights group frees thousands of minks. Associated Press, August 28, 2003.
Freed minks attack farm animals. Katherine Schiffner, Daily Herald (Washington), August 29, 2003.
Freed mink attack Sultan farms. Seattle Times, August 29, 2003.
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