A mink-pelt farm near Eden Valley, Minnesota is reeling after vandals attacked their property and caused hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage.
In the middle of the night in mid-June, unknown vandals cut down an exterior fence at Lang Fur Farms and released over 38,000 mink from their cages. Given the nature of the attack, it is assumed by local police and the FBI that the people involved are animal rights activists. County Sheriff Don Gudmundson has referred to the incident as an act of “domestic terrorism.”
In the fur business since 1936, Lang Fur Farms has been raising mink for generations. Dan Lang and his brother Scott took the reins just a few years ago. Given that the mink are raised for the purpose of being killed, activists took it upon themselves to go out one late night and tear apart the outer fencing at the farm and release almost 40,000 (valued at around $750,000) of them into the wild.
Social justice achieved, right? Did the mink, free of the horrors of the farm on which they were raised, finally have the chance to live carefree like Timon and Pumbaa of The Lion King? Did they get to explore the vast depths of the world like our favorite fish, Nemo?
No. Most of them immediately died – many of them are still dying. It turns out releasing domesticated animals into the wild is a pretty stupid thing to do.
“There were mink dead all over the road,” Lang said, describing the horrific scene at his family-run farm the morning following the attack. Unsurprisingly, after the mink were released, they quickly began to die by the thousands. Having been raised on a farm their entire lives, the animals do not know how to live on their own and depend on people for their well-being. Even in moderate temperatures, domestic mink cannot survive long on their own. Piles of carcasses scattered the farm as employees rounded up the dead.
For the mink that were recaptured alive – many of them are still dying. In a desperate attempt to recapture as many as possible, employees rounded up mink that were not raised together. Mink in completely altered groups are fighting and killing each other. “We just threw mink in pens to try to get as many back as we could. And now they are killing each other,” Lang went on. “And they’re still dying. They are still dying from heat stress.”
In a follow-up story by the St. Cloud Times, it was reported that Lang Farms has recaptured 11,000 live mink. 15,000 have died and another 14,000 are still unaccounted for.
Given the magnitude of the vandalism, authorities believe more than one person was involved. Unfortunately, no real leads have surfaced. Fur Commission USA is offering a $10,000 reward for any information, and the Tri-County Crimestoppers is offering another $1,000.
This incident is not new to mink farmers in Minnesota. In 2013, hundreds of mink were released at a farm 200 miles away from Lang’s. The man and woman involved were eventually caught two years later. The animal rights terrorists had gone on an animal-freeing spree – releasing furry animals and vandalizing farms in Iowa, Idaho, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Minnesota.