The Stearns County Sheriff’s Office said Monday that the animals were released by someone (or a group of people) who broke into Lang Farms near Eden Valley. The suspect(s) dismantled the exterior fence surrounding the mink barns and let all the animals free from their cages.
The sheriff’s office says between 30,000 and 40,000 animals — an estimated value of over $750,000 — are on the loose.
The minks will struggle to survive in the wild, the sheriff’s office says, adding that they could pose a threat to native habitats.
Those who see mink in the area are not encouraged to approach the animals but to call Lang Farms at 320-453-4750. The company may attempt to recapture the animals.
The Animal Liberation Front Press Office said Tuesday they have not received any claim of responsibility.
The Press Office is not part of Animal Liberation Front but frequently receives anonymous communication from underground groups. While they are not part of the Front, they do support their actions.
In a statement Tuesday, the Press Office said, “Imprisoned in cages for life, or mercilessly trapped with painful leg-hold traps in the wild, fur-bearing animals killed to make unnecessary fashion statements are forced to endure intensive confinement, compared to the miles of territory these still-wild animals would enjoy in their natural state… The Animal Liberation Front and other anonymous activists utilize economic sabotage in addition to the direct liberation of animals from conditions of abuse and imprisonment to halt needless animal suffering.”
According to the Department of Natural Resources, mink naturally live all across Minnesota.
The water-loving mammals eat creatures that live in wetlands, such as fish, frogs, ducks, worms, and crayfish. Their wild populations are currently considered healthy.