ALF & fur

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, September 1998:

British junior agriculture minister
Elliot Morley told the House of
Commons in July that he intended to introduce
legislation to close the 15 remaining
mink farms in Britain, but remembering the
Labor government’s failure to promptly pass
a ban on fox hunting, promised during the
1997 election campaign, Animal Liberation
Front members released as many as 6,000
mink from the Crow Hill Fur Farm i n
Hampshire on August 8, touching off mayhem.
About 500 were soon caught, still on
the premises, and others reportedly returned
within a few days, seeking food, but others
invaded the nearby New Forest Preserve,
devastating native wildlife and also killing a
caged owl and kestrel at the New Forest Owl
Sanctuary. Another 2,000 mink were shot or
trapped by a 20-member Ministry of
Agriculture hit squad during the next few
days, but as of August 13 at least 2,000 more

remained at large, some having migrated up
to 14 miles. A local gun dealer said anxious
farmers, gamekeepers, gardeners, birdwatchers,
and pet owners had purchased
25,000 air rifle pellets from him in only two
days. Conservationists fretted that the mink
might establish a feral population capable of
finishing off the already endangered water
vole, whose habitat has already been taken
over in many regions by otters and
muskrat––also originally escapees from fur
farms, several decades ago. British ALF
spokesperson Robin Webb confirmed that
the release was an ALF action.
Members of the U.S. ALF and
Earth Liberation Front reportedly freed 161
mink and 10 ferrets from the U n i t e d
Vaccines laboratory in Middleton,
Wisconsin, during the July 4 weekend.
United Vaccines produces anti-rabies vaccine
for use by mink and fox farmers. M o l l y
Wright, age 8, of Middleton, was bitten by
a mink whom other family members captured
in a box, guessing from an ear tag that the
animal was someone’s pet. About 100 of the
mink and nine of the ferrets were recaptured
within several days.
The Animal Defense League of
New Jersey on June 18 said the ALF had
burned a truck belonging to Steven Corn
Furs, of Paramus, New Jersey, two nights
earlier, and self-styled “ALF” activists were
also suspected of releasing 25 rodeo horses
from the Wastenaw County Fairgrounds in
Lodi Township, Michigan, on August 9, but
in Salt Lake City the Interagency Fire
Investigation Unit, the most successful antiALF
law enforcement team yet, was disbanded
on August 1, due to the transfer of
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and
Firearms agents to other duties. The special
unit had consisted of seven officers from
state, federal, and local agencies, plus a
golden Labrador retriever named D . J ., who
remains on bomb-sniffing duty in Salt Lake
City. In two years of work the unit secured
convictions in more purported ALF cases than
all other U.S. investigations combined.

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