Animal Activists Free 10,000 Minks From Fur Farm in Ohio — and Assert They Can Survive in the Wild

Sophie Hirsh - Author

Nov. 16 2022, Published 1:15 p.m. ET

Minks Freed From Ohio Factory Farm
Source: Getty Images

Minks at farmer Stig Sørensen’s estate where all minks must be culled due to a government order on Nov. 7, 2020 in Bording, Denmark.

When speaking about the animal agriculture industry (and its horrific impacts on the environment and animals), the focus is typically on those raised for the food system. But animals being used for fashion make up a significant portion of the cruel industry — which is why a group of animal activists just released minks from a fur farm Ohio.

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Here’s what we know about this operation, the animal rights group behind it, and the fate of the estimated 10,000 minks who were released from the factory farm.

Minks Released From Ohio Fur Farm
Source: Getty Images

Minks on a farm on Nov. 6, 2020 in Herning, Denmark.

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About 10,000 minks were just freed from an Ohio fur farm.

During the early hours of Tuesday, Nov. 15, a group of animal rights activists allegedly with the group Animal Liberation Front broke into the Lion Farms USA Mink Farm in Hoaglin Township, a tiny township in Van Wert County, Ohio, as reported by FOX 2 Detroit.

According to a Facebook post from Van Wert County Sheriff's Office on Tuesday morning, some fencing around the farm was torn down, and the activists freed between 25,000 and 40,000 minks from the cages they had been forced to live in. By the afternoon, the Sheriff estimated that only 10,000 minks were actually missing. All of these minks would have otherwise been killed for their fur.

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Sheriff Thomas Riggenbach stated that as the minks ran away from the farm, so many were killed that officials had to use a snow plow to clear the dead bodies, as per ABC News. However, ALF refuted that claim, noting that Lion Farms is located in a rural area with very little traffic. And, even if the freed mink were to be killed by a passing car, animal control, or a natural predator, they would be suffering the same fate as they would have in the factory farm.

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Additionally, the Sheriff warned that once-captive minks do not have the needed survival skills to make it in the wild; however, ALF believes this is false. A 2009 study published by Animal Liberation Frontline and Oxford University concluded that “farm-raised mink retain their wild instincts, and when released, can reassimilate successfully into their native habitat.”

That said, the Sheriff’s Office is investigating the incident, and warning locals that minks are carnivorous animals, and can put other local wildlife, domesticated animals, and livestock at risk.

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What is the Animal Liberation Front’s mission?

Animal Liberation Front is a movement made up of anonymous animal rights activists, who engage in direct actions to liberate animals from industries that subject them to abuse, exploitation, and suffering. The group is known for committing arson, destroying property, freeing animals, and other actions under the umbrella of “economic sabotage” — all in an effort to make “it more expensive to trade in the lives of innocent, sentient beings” for profit.

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Though the group did not issue a direct statement confirming its involvement in the mink action this week, WANE 15 reported that “ALF” and “we’ll be back” were spray painted on the farm’s wall, near the cut in the fence.

Additionally, the North American Animal Liberation Press Office shared a press release confirming that ALF left its calling card spray painted on the wall at the “mink prison” known as Lion Farms.

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“As the pelting season grows to a close, these animals were slated for certain death by anal electrocution, gassing or clubbing within the next few weeks, at the age of around seven months, when it is most profitable for their ‘owners’ to kill them,” the press office wrote, speaking about minks.

The press release went on to explain that despite claims from the fur industry, minks freed from imprisonment can survive in the wild.

“Despite being caged for their entire short and brutish lives, captive mink remain genetically wild, and have been proven capable of survival in the wild by the time they are several months old,” the statement added. “Don’t believe those who profit from animal abuse, or who just like to hear themselves spout off about things they know nothing about.”

With so many major fashion houses and stores going fur-free, it's clear that the world is ready to make fur farms a trend of the past.

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