Fur Farms Banned in Britain

The bill to ban fur farming the Great Britain is essentially a done deal. The 13 fur farms left in Great Britain will have to shut down by 2003; though the bill provides ample compensation for the remaining few fur farms. Ironically the ban on fur farming comes at a time when fur is making a comeback on the world fashion stage including in the United Kingdom.

In fact, the thing that comes through loud and clear about the use of fur is that animal rights activists have had almost no impact on the world fur market. Take mink, for example. In 1980, 22 million mink pelts were produced worldwide. After a boom in the 1980s that saw almost 42 million pelts produced in 1988, mink production crashed to an all-time low of 20.4 million in 1993 — due in large measure to the world-wide recession of the late 1980s. By 1997, however, world mink production had climbed back to 26.3 million pelts (although economic downturns in Russia likely lowered world production in 1998-1999).

As Richard North points out, the reality is that fur and fur farming is important only to a relatively small portion of the public. In large measure that is because the animal rights activists in their campaign against fur are inevitably forced into what Adrian Morrison calls the “muddled middle.” An editorial in the Daily Telegraph put this problem succinctly.

In singling out fur-farming for destruction, Miss [Maria] Eagle [the sponsor of the anti-fur farm bill] is trying to distinguish mink from cows, sheep, pigs and all the other animals that are farmed and slaughtered in this country. There is no real distinction: we eat or wear body parts from all these animals. … By all means let animal rights activists search out extreme brutalities in any farming process — and fur farming is no more brutal than other livestock farming — but it is wrong to demonise a particular process because of some perceived wrong in the people who wear the product.

As their noble lordships put on their cowhide shoes today, tied the cocoons of a thousand silkworms around their necks and arrange the fur of that norther stoat — the ermine — above their collars, they might do well to consider why the mink gets off so lightly.


Fur should fly. The Daily Telegraph (London), November 13, 2000

The question for all dedicated followers of fashion: can they stomach the rage for fur? Mary Braid, the Independent (London), November 4, 2000.

Fur and Freedom: in defence of the fur trade. Richard North, Institute for Economic Affairs, January 2000.

Suspected ALF Terrorist Commits Suicide

Alex Slack, 29, of Salt Lake
City, Utah, killed himself while awaiting trial on state and federal charges
alleging he participated in raids on Utah-area mink farms. Slack had also
been a major suspect in the firebombing of a Tandy Leather store several
years ago.

Like other suspected and convicted
animal rights terrorists, however, Slack claimed only to be a spokesperson
for the Animal Liberation Front.

More animal rights indictments

Two men who allegedly freed thousands
of mink from facilities in Wisconsin, Iowa and South Dakota last year
were recently indicted on charges of committing animal enterprise terrorism
and unlawful interference with interstate commerce.

Peter Young, 20, of Mercer Island,
Wash., and Justin Samuel, 19, of Snohomish, Wash., were charged with
six counts arising from an alleged cross country spree of “animal

The two were stopped by police
on Oct. 28, 1997 after fur farms in Wisconsin noticed the two acting
suspiciously and tipped of police. A search of their car turned up a list
of mink farms compiled by the Animal Liberation Front.

If convicted, Young and Samuel
could face up to 82 years in jail. Both men are still at large.


“Two men accused of freeing mink on farms in three states,” Kevin
Murphy, Washington Journal Sentinel, September 23, 1998.

More mink released in the UK

About two months ago Animal Liberation Front activists released 7,000 mink from a farm in Hampshire, England.
Recently activists released another 2,000 Mink from a farm in Onneley.

What have the results of this act
of “liberation” been? Mostly a lot of dead mink and other animals.
The mink have terrorized local wildlife, attacking pets and small farm
animals. A group of mink even attacked a local fisherman who happened
to be using dog food as bait.

The local media hasn’t been fooled
by the supposedly “compassionate” animal rights activists. As
a Daily Telegraph editorial summed it up,

The sort of people who released these mink have no attachment to animals.
Some rally to this bogus cause because it offers a license to destroy
other people’s property … in other moods this is a movement that will
make war on farmers who keep livestock and set fire to butchers’ shops
… Like much else done in the name of “animal rights,” it
amounts to mindless criminal activity that serves no cause whatever.
Its only consequence has been to destroy wildlife and expose the pretensions
of those who claim to be defending animals.

I don’t think I could have said it any better.


Showdown on the
farm. Richard Askwith, The Independent, Sept. 5, 1998.

mink are back … and this time they’re angry. Science.

rights and wrongs,” The Daily Telegraph, Sept. 18, 1998.

Josh Ellerman sentenced; 5 other animal rights activists indicted

On September 10 a judge in Utah
sentenced animal rights terrorist Josh Ellerman to seven years in jail
for his role in the March 1997 firebombing of the Fur Breeders Cooperative
in Sandy, Utah. Ellerman faced up to 35 years in jail but received a reduced
sentence in exchange for his cooperation in the prosecution of fellow
members of the Animal Liberation Front.

Earlier in the week, five other animal
rights activists were indicted in Salt Lake City for alleged acts of terrorism.

Assistant U.S. Attorney David Schwendiman
warned that animal rights terrorism would be vigorously prosecuted:

We support and defend the rights
of people to say and think what they want. But when they choose to express those beliefs through violence that endangers
lives and destroys property, it will be met with swift and sure prosecution.

Ellerman and the five recently indicted
animal rights activists were members of the “straight edge”
movement whose members foreswear drugs, alcohol, tobacco, casual sex, meat
and leather — but as Steve Milloy pointed out, apparently
not explosives.

Animal Liberation Front creates potential environmental disaster

Last weekend members of the Animal Liberation Front attacked a fur farm in
near Ringwood, England. The activists freed about 6,000 Mink and released
them into the surrounding area.

Unfortunately the mink were released
into an area called The New Forest, a wetland which was listed as one
of the world’s 900 most important wetland areas at the Rio Earth
Summit a few years ago. Since mink are extremely efficient predators,
much of the wildlife at this environmentally sensitive site has been
put in danger by these terrorists who claim to be looking out for animals.

As Howard Taylor, a forest-keeper
in the area, told Agence-France, “The mink is at the top of the food
chain. They are not fussy about what they eat – birds, eggs, small mammals,
fish, anything … Whoever let these animals out, if they think of themselves
as environmental warriors they should have thought of the environmental
consequences of releasing such a vicious predator into such a delicate

Terrence Smith, the owner of the
fur farm that was attacked, told BBC News, “It is an act of gross
stupidity that has not only harmed the welfare of these animals, but also
endangered other local wildlife and put the public at risk.”

Meanwhile, local farmers are busy
shooting the mink, with those who escape that fate almost certainly doomed
to starve to death. Chalk another “victory” up for animal rights


Wildlife disaster anticipated as 6,000 mink set free. Agence-France, August 9, 1998.

Mink terrorise Hampshire after farm release. BBC News Online, August 8, 1998.

Mink run wild after attack on fur farm. Macer Hall, Electronic Telegraph, August 9, 1998.