Mink Liberation : 5 Facts the ALF Doesn’t Want You to Know

ALF1

What really happens when misguided animal-rights zealots break into fur farms, cut fences, open cages and “liberate” mink? Here are five facts about “mink liberation” the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and their activist cheerleaders don’t want you to know!

1. Most “liberated” mink don’t enjoy their “freedom” for long!

Farmed mink are not wild animals. They have been raised in captivity for more than 100 generations – that’s more than 2,000 years in human terms – and are ill-equipped to fend for themselves in nature.

In fact, farmed mink have been selectively bred to be less aggressive and have never had to hunt for their food. Many “liberated” mink therefore die from dehydration or starvation. And because they associate the sound of vehicles with the arrival of the farmer’s motorized feed cart, many are attracted to roads where they are run over by cars.

In their boastful press releases, activists never show the mangled results of these deadly encounters. The media also generally choose to protect public sensibilities. But mink farmers are left to clean up the remains of animals they cared for since birth.

The carnage is not pretty, but we decided that the public has a right to see the truth about these mink “liberations”. I took the following picture last Fall on the road outside a Quebec mink farm, the day after activists broke in and released several hundred mink. So far, no one has been charged for intentionally subjecting mink to the suffering you see here:

mink liberation, dead mink, ALF, animal liberation front
“Liberated” mink sometimes run towards moving cars, perhaps because they think the sound is of their farm’s feed cart. The result is often lethal. Photo: Truth About Fur.
2. Mink that do survive, wreak havoc on local livestock and biodiversity

Inevitably, some “liberated” mink do survive, at least for a while, and especially if neighbours keep an outdoor chicken run or duck pond! The results are not good for the chickens and ducks.

Mink are notorious for going into a murderous feeding frenzy when the opportunity arises; they will bloodily wipe out dozens of hens or ducks within minutes.

Even more worrisome for biologists is the potential for the transmission of disease, to and from wild populations, and the possibility of weakening the gene pool if even a few domesticated mink survive long enough to mate with their wild cousins.

3. Releasing nursing females is just plain stupid!

Releasing farm-raised mink is never a good idea, but it takes a special sort of idiot to break into a farm while the females are nursing their young. This is exactly what some still-unidentified pea-brains did last month in southern Ontario. During the night of May 30-31, they cut the perimeter fence of a mink farm near the town of St. Mary’s and opened the cages of 1,600 nursing females.

The young kits, just 2-4 weeks old, are completely dependent on their mothers. With little or no fur (some still won’t even have their eyes open), they can easily die from hypothermia or dehydration. The farmers spend long hours in the barn through this critical period, to ensure that the kits are nursing and well cared for.

mink kits, mink young, mink babies
Mink kits are born with their eyes closed and without fur; they are completely dependent on their mothers for food and warmth. Photo: Truth About Fur.

Luckily, most of the females “liberated” in St. Mary’s did not go very far when their cages were opened, precisely because their young kits were nearby. So most of the females were quickly rescued, but there was no way of knowing which litters belonged to which!

Farmers will sometimes move nursing kits from large litters to be adopted by a female with fewer young. But this is done slowly and carefully, to ensure that the female will accept her new charge. But in St. Mary’s, there was no choice but to return the females to cages at random, and hope that their maternal instinct would win out.

4. The livelihood of small family farms is put in jeopardy

A farm invasion is clearly very damaging: the female mink have been fed and cared for since the previous year, and the kits represent the income needed to cover these and other expenses. The damage to the livelihood of the farm family, however, goes far beyond these immediate losses.

The success of a mink farm is directly related to the quality of the fur produced. Fur quality, in turn, is determined by nutrition and care, but also by genetics. Each year, mink farmers carefully select the animals they will retain for reproduction; they are constantly working to improve the quality of their herd.

mink farm, mink farming, fur farm
Mink farmers carefully select the animals they will retain for breeding, and keeping meticulous records is vital to their success. Photo: Zimbal Mink Farm.

Tragically, although most “liberated” mink are quickly recovered, their genetic history is usually lost. Breeding records are kept on cards attached to the mink pens. But there is no way to know which pens the recovered mink were released from. Since many North American farms are now operated by a second or third generation of the family, decades of genetic records – and work – are lost.

ALF criminals know all this: on their websites they brag about destroying breeding records and encourage others to do the same. How can these misguided activists claim to be “non-violent” when they destroy the life-work of several generations?

5. Mink “liberations” are a direct attack on democracy and everyone’s freedom!

The recent attack on the St. Mary’s, Ontario mink farm occurred on a weekend billed by radical extremists as “a day of direct action”.

Responsibility for the attack was claimed by an anonymous group in a “communiqué” (ALF’s preferred term for a press release) posted by the “Animal Liberation Press Office”.

SEE ALSO: AFTER 50 YEARS, FUR TRADE TURNS TABLES ON ACTIVISTS

The communiqué makes chilling reading for anyone who values democracy and personal freedom. In addition to the muddled collection of misinformation (e.g., claims that farmed mink are “mercilessly trapped in painful leghold traps” and suffer “a painful and agonizing death” on farms), the text states openly that Animal Liberation Front activists are using “economic sabotage” to raise costs for people working with animals, with the goal of putting them out of business.

animal rights terrorism, economic sabotage, direct action
All society is threatened by people who think they have a right to sabotage legitimate businesses to further their own ideological agenda

On a personal level, farmers and their families are being terrorized by these attacks on their property, their animals and their livelihoods. (Intruders are sometimes armed with baseball bats and other weapons.) On a broader level, it is all of society that is threatened by people who think their beliefs give them the right to break into private property and sabotage legal businesses.

And what do mainstream animal activist groups say about such criminal activity? Unfortunately, they often resort to Orwellian doublespeak: “We do not support illegal activity,” they insist. “But we understand why some people feel the need to stop this industry at any cost!”

Nice try. But we can turn this doublespeak on its head: if mainstream groups did not play so fast and loose with the facts in their verbal attacks on the fur trade, perhaps impressionable young activists would not be lured into such criminal activity!

***

What else do you think ALF doesn’t want us to know about mink “liberation”? Please leave a comment below! And see what Fur Commission USA has to say about mink “liberation”.


Written By

Alan Herscovici is the senior researcher and writer for Truth About Fur. Alan was raised in a fur family, is a published author, and served as Executive Vice-President of the Fur Council of Canada from 1997 to 2016.

More from Alan Herscovici, Senior Researcher, Truth About Fur

A Year on a Mink Farm. Part 3: Growing Up

Have you ever visited a mink farm? Would you like to know more...
Read More

15 Comments

  • they should teach the minks how to find food , and teach them how to scaveng and not reliy on there parntes. Then relis them.

  • I don’t know how people who defend the biggest mass murder of innocents in history sleep at night.

    Put yourself in the animals’ position, living in a cage so small you cannot even turn around, all leading to death via anal electrocution. All so some arrogant society could wear your fur.

    And then you people actually have the audacity to say it’s okay, “cos democracy guys and like a just cause”
    I’m ashamed to be human

    • Thank you for your perspective, Vego. Presumably you are vegan because, as you surely know, the numbers of pigs, poultry, fish etc. that are used to feed humans is infinitely higher than the number of animals used by the fur trade. That’s not an argument in favour of, or against, fur. It’s just a statement of fact. Perhaps you could clarify what you mean by “the biggest mass murder of innocents”. Are you referring just to the fur trade, or to all consumptive use of animals by humans?

  • Good article. You’re absolutely right.
    Activists should not be permitted to interfere with legitimate, legal business activities. Their actions are selfish and exhibit a childish worldview where nothing and no one else is as important as their wants and offended sensibilities. I suppose having such out-of-touch loonies is a sign of a successful and free society.

  • And actually, mink don’t cause havoc on the ecosystem, at least not for long, as they quickly disperse and find their own territories, same with foxes. Reports by farmers themselves indicate they are able to find their own food. Their genetics, if they survive, will be absorbed into the wild mink population.

  • Sigh.

    1. Even if the mink die, it is better than dying on a fur farm, it isn’t like they were going to live much longer there.

    2. The ALF recommends against releasing nursing females

    3. ALF actions are all about freedom, freedom for animals as well as people.

    4. Horrible practices cant be condoned just because someone makes money from it

  • As a biology teacher who supports dissection as an educational tool, we are happy to take skinned deceased mink from fur farms to use in our anatomy and physiology curriculum. The students don’t get as upset as when cats are used plus the mink go to a noble cause. Technically any animal sacrificed for science goes to a noble cause! I had the worst internet flame fest a while ago with the PETA and ALF wackos who attacked me because I failed a student when she refused to dissect a cat…a requirement for her elective A&P course! You can’t reason with people like them.

    • Sure, a noble cause of being cut apart for nothing.

      You were wrong to fail a conscientious objector.

      • I assume you will not avail yourself of any medicine that emanates from animal experimentation. Since most modern medicine has this connection your life will, unfortunately, be short.

  • I like how you say ito lucky that the females got rescued just so you can gas them so you can wear their fur when there are about a million alternatives

    • Most livestock raised on farms will ultimately die to serve human needs; that’s why they are there. What is important is to ensure their welfare (proper nutrition, housing, care) during their lives, and a quick and humane death when it’s time to euthanize them.

      • Fur doesn’t qualify as a human need. We don’t need it anymore. There are much more ethically sound and environmentally sound materials to keep us warm. Your misguided propaganda is sickening. Also, mink were on this Earth far before they were bred for fur purposes, so your stunningly simple “that’s why they are there” comment reads as sadly ignorant.

        • Really? Cold-weather clothing is a human need, and the strongest ethical argument in favour of fur is that it’s an “environmentally sound” way to produce cold-weather clothing. Re: “that’s why they are there,” you realise of course that this refers to why mink exist on farms, not to why they exist, period.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *