40,000 Minks Released From Ohio Fur Farm By Anti-Fur Activitists
Dec 1, 2022: An estimated 40,000 minks were released from an Ohio fur farm by activists who smashed their enclosures.
The Van Wert County Sheriff’s Office released a statement on social media to alert local residents. It said that the Lion Farms USA fur facility had been broken into. A later update revealed many of the minks had been recaptured, although around 10,000 remained unaccounted for.
The mink that were raised and kept in captivity are unlikely to survive on their own, farm manager Eddie Meyer said. Meyer told news site WANE that he expected 95 percent of them to die within a few days.
Today there are about 250 mink farms in the United States, producing in the region of 3 million pelts (whole animal skins, including the fur) every year. Typically they supply the fashion sector, which makes coats and garment trims from mink fur.
Minks raised on farms are not covered by the US Animal Welfare Act or the Humane Slaughter Act, and care for these mustelids is thought to be largely thought to be nonexistent. Animals are frequently caged in small, empty wire boxes, stacked on top of each other. This allows farmers to cram the maximum number of animals into any given space until they are ready to be slaughtered and skinned. Sheds housing the animals are frequently overcrowded, hot, and free from stimulation. This results in many animals self-mutilating to try and free themselves or attacking others. Injuries are not treated, and animals are often left to die slowly and in pain.
Common execution methods include anal electrocution, cervical dislocation, and mass gassings.
Unsafe Conditions means Vectors of Disease
In addition to ethical concerns, mink farms are hotspots for disease transmission. Due to the cramped and filthy conditions, illness can spread quickly through mink farms. This was observed during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, with farms reporting mass infections around the world. Millions of minks were killed as a result, with more than 15 million being executed in Denmark in 2020 alone.
In addition, multiple regions around the world implemented bans on mink fur farming to stem the zoonotic disease risk. Sweden, British Columbia, Hungary, and Italy are notable inclusions.
Ohio’s unidentified animal activists
The activists responsible for freeing the 40,000 minks in Ohio reportedly spray-painted the letters “ALF” on the farm. This could stand for activist organization the Animal Liberation Front (also known as the ALF), which claimed credit for a previous release of 1,000 minks in Ohio. However, the ALF has not yet received a claim for this incident. As a decentralized activism collective, individual members of the ALF carry out actions designed to free animals from captivity. Nobody is in charge of organizing the group, and activities can be claimed by individuals, usually anonymously, after the fact.