FUR COMMISSION USA PRESS RELEASE, AUGUST 27, 2008
Before daylight on Sunday, Aug. 24, trespassers broke into the Rippin Fur Farm in Aldergrove, B.C. Canada where they released about 6,000 mink and opened the farm gate. Most of the mink were contained within the perimeter fence while over 500 mink made their way through the open gate.
With the help of 30 to 35 fellow mink ranchers most of the mink were recovered by late afternoon. There were losses due to road traffic and stress.
It is assumed that the crime was committed by animal extremists. The RCMP is investigating and anyone with information should contact Cst. Brett Henderson at 604-532-3200.
The Rippin family farm is a third-generation mink farm which has raised mink since 1935. They specialize in raising high quality black mink.
Stated Randy Rippin, “As a third generation mink farmer, the importance of providing the best care and welfare for these animals is always our concern. The criminals who broke into our farm proved that they do not have any concern whatsoever for the mink.”
The Rippin family survived a similar attack on Nov. 14, 1995 when vandals broke in and abandoned 4,000 mink around the farm. About 550 mink were lost during that crime. A terrorist cell calling itself the Animal Liberation Front claimed guilt in a letter sent to the Vancouver Sun.
The recent attack on the Aldergrove farm follows on the heels of a similar crime in South Jordan,Utah on Aug. 19 when hundreds of pens were opened and mink were abandoned around the farm. Dozens of neighbors helped recover the animals and return them to the farm. About 20 to 30 kits were lost, some killed on the road. The McMullin farm specializes in raising a fine black mink for use in natural fiber cold weather clothing. Sixty-six mink farms in Utah raise over 620,000 mink annually, for pelts valued at almost $41 million at auction. The FBI is investigating the attack on the McMullin farm and Det. Sam Winkler of the South Jordan Police Department is in charge of the criminal investigation. Anyone with information about the crime should contact him at 801-254-4708.
“It seems we may have an eco-terrorism road trip in process, attacking farmers in two countries,” stated Teresa Platt, the executive director of Fur Commission USA, a nonprofit trade association representing U.S. mink farmers. “Beyond the attacks on the farms, a dairy barn ignited in Utah, just north of the where the mink farm was attacked. Arson is a possibility. Earth workers and others involved in resource-based industries and research should engage their Neighborhood Watch programs and report anything suspicious to law enforcement and their trade associations.”
Mink are raised in almost all provinces in Canada with the largest producing provinces being Nova Scotia, Ontario and British Columbia. Currently, Canada produces approximately 2.3 million mink, about 4% of world production. US mink farmers in more than two dozen states produce approximately 3 million mink pelts valued at about US $200 million at auction.
For more information on Canadian mink farming, contact Gary Hazelwood at the Canada Mink Breeders Association. For more information on the Canadian fur industry, contact Alan Herscovici at the Fur Council of Canada.