By Mychel Matthews – email@example.com
BURLEY • A mink farm southeast of town was hit last weekend by a group of self-avowed “animal liberators.”
On Sunday evening, 4,800 mink were released from the Moyle mink farm at 575 E. 120 S., said Cassia County Sheriff Jay Heward.
An estimated 90 percent of the mink were recaptured.
A group known as Direct Action has claimed responsibility for the mink release on its website magazine “Bite Back.”
The group acted “with love in our hearts,” according to Bite Back.
The activists said they targeted the farm because it is owned by Fur Commission USA board member Cindy Moyle.
“We felt that the Moyle Mink Ranch would be perfect to test out the efficacy of FCUSA’s new emphasis on farm security,” the group wrote in Bite Back. “In the case of the Moyles, the breeding records we destroyed represent over thirty years of painstaking genetic selection. There will be no recovering these genetic lines.”
The intruders entered the property by cutting chicken-wire fencing in eight areas at the rear of the farm, said Undersheriff George Warrell. They opened cages to release the mink.
The activists “knew exactly where to go to find the breeding cages,” which contained valuable female breeding stock. Signs detailing the breeding history of the female mink were ripped from the cages and scattered on the ground. The mink are worth $100 each, but the breeding females are more valuable.
“There is no way to connect the breeding history with the females now, according to Mrs. Moyle,” Warrell said.
Heward said he has talked to county prosecutor Al Barrus. “We are prepared to prosecute, if we can find them,” he said.
The raiders “don’t have to be from around here,” he said. “They could have come from Salt Lake or Boise. We know people travel great distances to do something they are passionate about.”
The Animal Liberation Front (ALF)on June 1 released a 58-page instruction manual called “The Final Nail: Complete Guide to Destroying the Fur Industry.”
“The Final Nail is a blueprint for committing a felony,” Michael Whelan, executive director of the fur commission, told the Times-News last month.
“It’s terrorism — that’s exactly what it is,” Whelan said. Some mink farmers sleep with “guns by their bedsides. This is their livelihood being threatened.”
The sheriff’s department is asking neighbors to report any suspicious activity. Heward can be reached at 208-878-1107. Or call Crimestoppers in Burley at 208-878-2900.
The Magic Valley is home to 10 mink farms, and Idaho has 19 others, notes an ALF news release.