FUR COMMISSION USA PRESS RELEASE, OCTOBER 24, 2001
Terrorists Hit Iowa Fur Farm Twice in Six Days
ELLSWORTH, IOWA: “If these animal rights terrorists cared at all about animal welfare, they would stop using these living creatures as a political football!” said a spokeswoman for the fur farming industry after a farm in this community of just 490 people was raided for the second time in six days.
Teresa Platt, executive director of Fur Commission USA, was speaking in the aftermath of an Oct. 23 raid on a small family fur farm in the sleepy village of Ellsworth, Iowa. The same farm had been raided just six days earlier, on Oct. 17.
Guilt for both attacks has been claimed by the terrorist group known as the Animal Liberation Front (ALF).
The first attack came in the early hours of Oct. 17, when the terrorists released and abandoned some 1,700 mink. The farming family and neighbors from miles around quickly rounded up all but 270 of the frightened animals and returned them to the safety of the farm.
But just as the distraught family was recovering from the shock, the terrorists struck again.
On Oct. 23, they returned in the dead of night and opened the pens again. Many of the stressed mink chose to remain in their pens or at least on the farm, but by the end of the day some 600 were still missing.
Fortunately, the weather has been cool which means that those mink which have been recovered have not suffered from dehydration. The farm workers will be monitoring them for the next few weeks to see how they cope with the stress these attacks have placed upon them, but the outlook is grim.
“Typically after animal rightists raid a fur farm, animals do suffer stress-related health problems,” explained Platt, “or attack their new pen mates, since it is impossible to pair them all up with the same mink they shared pens with before. But with the close attention of farm staff, the majority will be nursed back to full health and farm life returns to normal. In Ellsworth, though, the poor animals are going to be doubly stressed, and we can only hope they pull through.”
For those animals which have not been recovered, the outlook is worse still. Those which do not fall victim to cars or dogs will succumb to stress, hunger or thirst, while the very few that make it through to snowfall will die from cold.
“These are farm-raised animals which lack the skills to survive in the wild,” explained Platt. “Realistically speaking, they can’t be expected to last long, particularly at this time of year when food is scarce.”
Iowa Battles Terrorists
In September 2000, ALF claimed guilt for the largest livestock release ever in the US when it struck another Iowa farm, in New Hampton.(1) In that attack, ALF terrorists opened the pens of 14,000 mink at the Earl Drewelow & Sons Fur Farm. After many thousands of the animals turned up dead in the surrounding countryside, locals began calling the perpetrators the “Animal Elimination Front”.
The latest attacks are all too familiar to Len Drewelow. “Since we were victims of terrorism, we can understand how this Ellsworth farmer feels after such a crime,” he said after the first attack. “But it’s also amazing to me anyone would have the nerve to commit any terrorist act after September 11.”
After the attack on Drewelow’s farm, Iowa strengthened its laws to address this type of terrorism, which the FBI refers to as “special interest domestic terrorism”. Drewelow testified at hearings and helped pass that Iowa state legislation.
“Obviously, the U.S. government needs to address all types of terrorism, including ‘special interest’ terrorism, both foreign and domestic,” he said.
According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service of the US Department of Agriculture, Iowa is the sixth largest mink-producing state with 17 farms producing 137,000 pelts in 2000 for use in cold weather clothing sold throughout the world.(2) U.S. fur sales have risen 40 percent since 1998.(3)
Anyone finding a lost mink, please use caution since it will by now be starving, and call Fur Commission USA at (619) 575-0139.
(1) See Two Weeks After ALF Attack, Thousands of Mink Dead or Dying FCUSA press release on Drewelow farm raid, Sept. 22, 2000.
(2) See www.furcommission.com/farming/usda01.pdf
(3) See US Fur Sales Up in 2000; Record Increase Is Largest in Recent History Fur Information Council of America press release, May 21, 2001.
Media Link September 11 with Ecoterror FCUSA commentary, Oct. 17, 2001.
New Hampshire Mink Stolen and Abandoned; Nursing Females and Kits Casualties of War on Animals FCUSA press release, June 14, 2000. Includes link to a National Public Radio program on a 1998 mink farm raid in Michigan.
ALF Pushing Nonsense Philosophy; Farmers Issue Challenge FCUSA press release, Sept. 13, 2000.