Wisconsin fur farm workers try to recapture 3,000 mink that activists claim to have released

Wausau Pilot and Review

LINCOLN, Wis. (AP) — Workers at a fur farm in western Wisconsin are trying to recapture thousands of mink that were released last week, apparently during a raid by animal activists, authorities said.The Trempealeau County Sheriff’s Office said Wednesday that a hole was cut in a chain-link fence enclosure at Olsen Fur Farm late Friday or early Saturday, allowing about 3,000 mink to escape.

Detective Erica Koxlien said Thursday that workers at the farm in Lincoln have been using traps and fishing nets to try to recapture the mink but there was no immediate update on how many of the animals have been rounded up.“They’re still working on capturing them. They seem to have traveled pretty far,” Koxlien said.

The Animal Liberation Front, which is labeled an extremist group by the FBI, shared an anonymous post claiming responsibility for releasing the mink, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.That post said, “we hope many of the mink enjoy their freedom in the wild and that this farm will be unable to breed thousands upon thousands of them in future years.

”The Animal Liberation Front post said that Olsen Fur Farm also was raided in October 1997, when 800 mink were released.Wisconsin produces the most mink pelts in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In 2022, the state produced 571,750 pelts. The USDA reported that the country’s 2022 mink production was valued at $39.2 million.