Scores of Freed Mink Feed on Farm Animals

(Note: Tell me again, just so's I can understand, how the enviro terrorists did this because of 'exploitation of animals?' I still don't get it ... seems to me like they CREATED animal exploitation by what they did. Says here that mink are semi-carnivorous; does that mean they eat trucks?!)

August 29, 2003

Associated Press

Sultan, Washington - Days after 10,000 mink were released from a farm in southern Snohomish County, hundreds of the animals not yet captured have converged on local farms in search of food.

The animals had killed at least 25 exotic birds and attacked other livestock in the area.

"Over half our livestock was shredded. Murdered. Eaten alive," said Jeff Weaver, who discovered the dead birds on his farm Thursday. "These are not like regular farm animals. They're our pets."

Weaver, who breeds Indian Runner ducks and Banny chickens, said his field was full of the animals Thursday morning.

"One of the mink had part of a chicken in its mouth and was headed for the creek," he said. "They're starving. They'll kill anything in their path."

The mink also killed Weaver's geese, chicken and ducks, as well as wounded a dog and ate a 50-pound bag of bird feed. With an estimated loss of $2,000, he said he plans to improve fences, set traps and, if necessary, use a shotgun to fend off future assaults.

Diane and Joe Sallee are sealing their chickens in at night after they found the mink had killed six hens and injured several other that had to be euthanized.

"This has just devastated our chicken population. We are just so upset by this," Diane Sallee said. "The people who do these things don't think it through."

Animal activists argue that while the farm animals' deaths are unfortunate, it proves minks raised in captivity can survive in the wild.

"The amount of suffering that has been prevented by releasing them from cramped cages and freeing them from an extremely cruel death more than justifies a temporary disruption to the ecosystem," said veterinarian Andrew Knight, director of research at the Seattle-based Northwest Animal Rights Network.

Owners of the mink farm from which the animals were released estimate about 80 percent of the animals have been captured, leaving more than 1,000 unaccounted for, said Teresa Platt, executive director of Fur Commission USA. The commission is offering a $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrests and convictions of those responsible.

The FBI, which is leading the investigation, suspects an out-of-state group is responsible for the mink release at the Roesler Brothers Fur Farm off U.S. Highway 2.

The American Liberation Front, considered a domestic terrorist group by the FBI, has claimed responsibility.

Weaver argues that the group that released the animals didn't think of the repercussions.

"I'm not into anyone running around with fur coats on," he said. "But you cannot let 10,000 semi-carnivorous animals out without having serious consequences."

Copyright 2003 Associated Press