PSP: Thousands of mink escape from Rockefeller Township facility; activist hints at culprit

The News Item (Pennsylvania)

Stahl Fur Farm

ROCKEFELLER TOWNSHIP — Between 6,000 and 8,000 minks escaped from a facility Sunday morning after someone cut holes in a fence, according to Pennsylvania State Police.

A man identifying himself as Joseph Buddenberg, of Los Angeles, who said he is a press officer with the North American Animal Liberation and spent two years in federal prison for liberating mink from a fur farm, emailed the newspaper that the Sunday incident “is consistent with an Animal Liberation Front action.”

When asked, Buddenberg replied, “I wasn’t involved.” But, he added, “We will likely receive an anonymous communique in the coming days.” (A communique was received and published)

Trooper Austin Bennett said in a public information release on Monday that state police were dispatched at 12:08 p.m. Sunday to Richard H. Stahl Sons Inc. farm, 4130 State Route 890, for criminal mischief.

The company reported that between midnight and 6:50 a.m. Sunday someone cut holes in the fence surrounding the mink farm.

The trooper said in the release that numerous state agencies and farm staff were working on recovering the mink.

The Sunbury Animal Hospital informed the public in a social media post on Monday to not drive around a look for the minks. The hospital added that people should not approach the animals as they can be aggressive. The hospital said that anyone who catches a mink should bring the animals to its facility for their safe return.

According to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California Buddenberg, then 32 of Oakland, California, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act in 2016 and was sentenced to two years in prison and $398,272 in restitution.

He was named a co-conspirator with animal-rights activist Nicole Kissane, who was sentenced in federal court to 21 months in prison for terrorizing the fur industry during cross-country road trips. Prosecutors said she and Buddenberg caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage by vandalizing properties and releasing mink from commercial farms.

Buddenberg wrote to the newspaper that mink are genetically wild and native to North America, but “On fur farms, they are held captive in filthy 10-inch-wide wire cages until they are gassed in the pelting season.

“We’ve seen over 20,000 animals liberated from U.S. fur farms in the past two years. These are heroic acts of compassion. “The wild animals freed from the farm in Sunbury now have a chance at life — on the farm they had a 100 percent chance of being violently killed.

“The Animal Liberation Front will not stop until the fur industry is destroyed. Only 60 mink farms remain in the U.S. This is an antiquated and violent industry and its days are numbered.”