Animal Protection >
Operation Bite Back - Part II
Since the Animal Liberation Front's,
Operation Bite Back part I concentrated on
economic sabotage to the fur industry, part II
focuses on large liberation's to rescue the animals themselves from imminent
suffering. One of the first large liberation's occurred Nov. 14, 1995 in
Aldergrove, British Columbia at Rippin Fur Farm where 5,000 mink were liberated.
This spurred on similar large liberation's for 1996.
These massive liberation's provided all animals a chance at freedom, while
financially devastating the fur farm. The entire stock of breeding animals
is depleted, along with the animals actually killed for their coats that are
literally running for their lives. Fur farmers will have to re-build their
entire business by replacing the animals, rebuilding the facility after property
has been destroyed and providing expensive security equipment and guards.
Since the fur industry is declining so rapidly, often times these liberation's
provide the financial loss necessary to close down the business permanently.
An example would be the Glen Kellow Fur Farm in Oregon. Six rabbits were
liberated on Oct. 29, 1997. The fur farm in now closed. The Mac W. Ellis Fur
Farm had 25 foxes released on Oct. 1994, and 30 foxes again released on Sep. 16,
1995. This fur farm in Tennessee is now closed. The Clarence Jordan Fur Farm
in Olympia, Washington saw 400 mink liberated on Nov. 16, 1995 and once again
is closed in 1996.
One fur farmer even acknowledged the effectiveness of A.L.F. actions in an
article printed Aug. 28 in Wisconsin's Journal Sentinel:
Steve Frye of Frye's Fur Farm in Crystal Lake, Ill., said good breeding mink
sell for $1,000 each. "When they (the Animal Liberation Front) hit my farm last
October ('97), we estimated the loss at $600,000,"
Three thousand mink were liberated from Holt Mink Ranch in South Jordan, Utah.
Utah has the most fur farms of any state in the U.S. with 125 fur farms. This
explains the large number of actions against the fur trade which take place in Utah.
Mink are considered to be the backbone of the industry, so activists continue to
pour the majority of their energies into mink liberations. Ohio's Journey Mink
Ranch had two liberation's starting August 12 with 2,500 mink freed followed by
8,000 mink released September 1996.
1997 saw an explosion of actions all over the U.S. A record 10,000 mink were
liberated from Arritola Mink Farm May 30, 1997 in Mt. Angel, OR. This is the
largest liberation in the U.S. to date, which received spectacular results for
the animals. Instead of leaving behind thousands of animals slated to die,
volunteers attempted to leave no victims behind.
Several releases of 5,000 mink took place within the month of October, 1997.
The first was Oct.5 in Illinois at Frye Mink Farm. This was closely followed in
Idaho Oct. 6 at Palmer Mink Farm. Soon after Circle K Fur Farm in Iowa saw the 5,000 mink and 100 fox released.
October was a busy month all around since 3,000 mink were released from both
Turbak Mink Farm in South Dakota, and Jack Dittrich Minkery in Wisconsin.
1998 is underway with 310 animals released from United Vaccines Experimental Fur
Farm in Wisconsin to celebrate Independence Day. This was particularly crucial
since United Vaccines is one of only two businesses producing vaccines which
allow animals to remain alive just long enough to kill them for their fur coat.
"If these two companies are pushed out of the fur industry then the economic
ramifications would be felt by fur farmers all over the world," states the
Coalition to Abolish the Fur Trade (CAFT).
The month of August 1998, has been particularly successful with five large
liberations in only eleven days! A.L.F. volunteers are selecting clusters of fur
farms in several midwestern states. Minnesota has seen two liberations, Iowa has
also had two liberation's and Wisconsin has had one. Both large fur farms with
more than 13,000 animals are selected and smaller concentration camps with 4,000
The actions kicked off Aug. 18 with almost 4,000 animals (the entire supply)
liberated from Charles Mueller's Fur Farm in Kimball, MN. Communiques have been
received for four of the five actions. Only two days later on Aug. 20, 330 foxes
were liberated from Steve Hansel's Hidden Valley Fur Farm in Guttenberg, Iowa.
The communique stated the action was dedicated to the Chatham 3 from Michigan.
Three activists are accused of liberating 1,500 mink from Ebert's Fur Farm in
Ontario, Canada in April 1997. Breeding cards were also removed, with
an estimated half a million dollars in damages.
The following day, Aug. 21, at Isebrands Fur Farm in Jewell, Iowa 3,000
mink were set free. A communique for each of the 3 raids has been
received claiming full responsibility. The communique for Isebrands
speaks directly to all of us:
"Let this raid be a call to action. It is time for all those who oppose
needless suffering to start the attack. This is the third fur farm raid
in the Midwest this week, let's make this only the beginning. By brick,
boltcutters, or fire, this is the dawn of liberation,"
We are called to question our comfortable lifestyles as well:
"Many will wear an A.L.F. T-shirt, but will not jeopardize their middle
class lifestyle to end the suffering of others."
Security is described as "non-existent" and the raid itself is said to
be a "simple low risk operation." The liberators are able to challenge
each of us directly with the statement:
"The only things separating life from death for the mink in these dens
of suffering are a latch on a cage and your own fear."
"Now is the time for activists who are unwilling to risk their freedom
for the animals to question their own dedication and conviction..."
The fourth liberation on Aug. 27 at Bown's Mink Ranch had 3,000 mink
liberated in Beloit, WI. A communique is yet to be received.
The fifth liberation at the Zumbro Fur Farm in Rochester, MN saw 3,000 mink released. Three roads in Northwest Rochester were closed to traffic, which will
allow the mink more time to acclimate to their natural habitat.
The grand total of animals saved just in August, comes to 13,000 mink,
and 330 foxes.
Operation Bite Back continues...