Actual photo of caged fox on the Palmer Erickson fur farm
After initially sparse reports, the full story is in: Sometime Thursday night, 1,200 to 1,500 mink were liberated from a fur farm in Jewell, Iowa. The target is confirmed as Palmer Erickson's fur farm at 3374 Saratoga Avenue, Jewell, IA.
According to various reports, four sheds at the west end of the property had cages opened. There is no report of any foxes being released. The Animal Liberation Front has not yet claimed responsibility.
Iowa has had more fur farm raids than any other state, with this being the 9th recorded mink farm liberation. After 5 years of steady activity, there were no raids for eight straight years (2003 to 2011). This week's raid broke a long run of peace for fur farmers in Iowa.
The fur industry response
The response from the Fur Commission USA has been somewhat subdued compared to previous raids. They are only offering rewards of $5,000 for information leading the capture of those responsible for the Iowa raid and last weekends Oregon mink release, compared to their offer of $100,000 in past years.
A report from the FCUSA covers the fur farmer's version of how the raid was discovered:
The attack was discovered when the family dogs started barking in the pre-dawn hours, apparently interrupting the raid, as evidence gathered at the site points to a hasty escape by the attackers.
The fur industry in Iowa
The current breakdown of the Iowa fur farming industry is:
17 mink farms (USDA statistics)
8 fox farms (number confirmed open or believed to be open as of 2009)
1 feed supplier (located in Jewell)
One of the fur farms -- the Klingbeil Mink Farm in Remsen -- is currently up for sale. A website has been set up to promote the sale of the farm: www.iowaminkfarmforsale.com
History of Iowa Animal Liberation Front fur farm raids
According to this list of fur farm raids, this is the third fur farm raided in Jewell, and the last known fur farm in Jewell that has not been raided. One -- the Scott Nelson mink farm -- was forced to shut down after the ALF raided it twice in one week. In addition to the three previous raids at two farms, the Hawkeye Mink Cooperative (a short distance from the Palmer Erickson farm) was broken into in 2003. Thousands of documents containing fur farm addresses and other info were confiscated in that raid.
Iowa fur farm raid list:
October 19th, 1997
October 21st, 1997
August 20th, 1998
August 21st, 2008
September 7th, 2000
October 16th, 2001
October 20th, 2001
January 13, 2002
August 18th, 2002
The Iowa mink industry is perhaps the hardest hit by the Animal Liberation Front. May there be more to come.
- Peter Young
October 7, 2011
Over 1,000 mink released in Iowa