According to the Trempealeau County Sheriff’s Office, the subject(s) gained entry into an enclosure by cutting a hole in a chain link fence surrounding the area housing the mink.
27 News obtained video of that most recent raid.
Peter Young, a now convicted felon and former member of the Animal Liberation Front, told 27 News he and another animal activist took a roundtrip through Wisconsin that year.
He said their goal was to stop at mink farms in the state and release the animals. Their first stop was Independence, Wisconsin.
“That particular night we raided the farm, we released 800 mink,” Young said. “It was a notable night because we decided to target two farms in one night.” Young said they entered the farm through the back.
“Probably the same way the activist the other night did,” he added. “We stripped away the rear fencing and we targeted their breeding stock specifically, which is the most valuable part of a mink herd.”
He told 27 News they released the 800 mink and moved on to the next farm in Tomahawk, Wisconsin.
“About a week after we raided the farm in Independence, we were pulled over near a fur farm in Sheboygan, Wisconsin,” he recalled. Young said they denied police consent to search so their car was impounded.”When they searched our vehicle they found various evidence they believe linked us to these mink liberation’s including wire cutters and fur farm lists and so forth,” he said.
Young became a fugitive for the next seven and a half years and was eventually arrested in 2005.He would serve the next two years in prison for Animal Enterprise Terrorism charges.
“I never for a moment regretted releasing those mink from the farm in Independence or any other farm,” Young said. “I consider those actions to be absolutely justified.”
“Truthfully, the most effective activism I’ve ever participated in was illegally releasing mink from farms,” he added.
The People Behind the Mink Raid? Likely the Animal Liberation Front
Young said the people behind the most recent raid are most likely acting under the Animal Liberation Front (ALF).
According to their website, “The ALF is one of the most active animal liberation groups in existence, and has historically operated under certain specified guidelines, which many other groups do not.”
The guidelines were listed as follows:
These guidelines were developed long ago and are widely known and published, though they have changed in the past and may do so again:
- To liberate animals from places of abuse, i.e., laboratories, factory farms, fur farms, etc., and place them in good homes where they may live out their natural lives, free from suffering.
- To inflict economic damage to those who profit from the misery and exploitation of animals.
- To reveal the horror and atrocities committed against animals behind locked doors, by performing direct actions and liberations.
- To take all necessary precautions against harming any animal, human and non-human.
- Any group of people who are vegetarians or vegans and who carry out actions according to these guidelines have the right to regard themselves as part of the Animal Liberation Front.
However, the FBI estimates that the ALF/ELF and related groups have committed more than 1,100 criminal acts in the United States since 1976, resulting in damages conservatively estimated at approximately $110 million.
FBI Deputy Assistant Director John Lewis wrote the following:
“Individuals become members of the ALF not by filing paperwork or paying dues, but simply by engaging in “direct action” against companies or individuals who, in their view, utilize animals for research or economic gain, or do some manner of business with those companies or individuals.”
Lewis claimed direct action generally occurs in the form of criminal activity designed to cause economic loss or to destroy the victims’ company operations or property.
After serving prison time, Young said he no longer participates in the ALF movement.
“I believe the FBI considers there to be some unpaid debt, and they have been not so secretive about trying to put me back in prison,” Young said.
He said the FBI has tried to connect him with ALF actions in the past and the recent raid is not an exception.
“They have a very difficult time with this Independence farm,” Young added. “I’ve got a solid alibi.”
He added that “It’s a very short list of names that you could associate with the ALF and I’m on that very short list.”
Why Wisconsin is a Target for Animal Activists
As for why Wisconsin has been a target for the ALF and other activists, Young said it’s simple.
“Wisconsin was a target for us and has been a target for activists over the years because it’s the biggest fur farming state in terms of the number of animals that are raised for fur,” he said.
Young explained over the years the fur industry has shrunk and continues to.
“The odds of any single farmer being targeted by the ALF are so dramatically high right now that I can’t imagine living like that,” he added.
While Young maintains his innocent in the most recent raid, he told 27 News he supports the suspect(s) actions.
“I salute you,” he said. “We’re at a point in history where a small number of activist focusing their efforts on the fur industry, with a few dozen farms that are left, could literally shut down the entire fur industry.”