Hundreds of minks set free at farm accused of animal cruelty
Hundreds of minks (not the ones pictured) in Montérégie were set free overnight on August 20. Police are investigating, and would not confirm it is the same fur farm targeted by animal rights activists online.
August 21, 2014 8:51 AM
Photograph by: Sergei Grits , AP Photo
The farm’s owner called the Sûreté du Québec at 8 a.m. August 20, reporting that cages housing the minks had been opened. When SQ officers arrived, they discovered that most of the animals remained in the barn close to their open cages, but that some managed to escape into the wild.
One of the main hypotheses of the SQ is that one or more intruders entered the barn and opened the cages deliberately, according to Ingrid Asselin, spokesperson for the force.
Quebec’s Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks confirmed to The Gazette that the incident occurred at the same farm the Montreal SPCA and the ministry have been investigating.
“The release into the wild of minks in captivity does nothing to help the protection of farmed animals, nor the wild animals in the area,” said Laurent Lessard, minister for the department, in a statement. “The ecosystem does not have the capacity to welcome these animals, which may threaten their survival.”
“I ask the population to let the Ministry and its partners fulfill their role,” he continued.
According to the department, many animals are at risk of starving because they’ve never lived in the wild before. Those that do eat might attack nearby animals, it says.
The ministry added in a news release that up to 3,000 minks may have been released. Asselin said police could not confirm the exact number that remained at large, however their early estimate was that hundreds of minks were released.
The farm has been condemned by animal-rights activists who say foxes at the farm in St-Jude were being mistreated. Alanna Devine, the Montreal SPCA’s director of animal advocacy, has likened conditions at the farm to “living in hell.”
Veterinarian reports provided by the SPCA show that foxes at the site were dehydrated, many were thin and underweight, and that several had evidence of ear infections. Pictures show foxes with eye discharge and discolouring, and minks with open wounds.
The SPCA has criticized the Quebec government for not intervening to seize 70 or so foxes that remain on the farm. The government says the farm has undergone 14 inspections since July 14, which resulted in five fines for non-compliance of provincial rules. Still, The Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks says it has no plans to seize the animals, as conditions on the farm are improving.
Activists are planning protests in front of the farm on Saturday. Sgt. Joyce Kemp with the SQ said an investigation into the release of the animals is ongoing.
[Press Office note: Imprisoned in cages for life, or mercilessly trapped with painful leghold traps in the wild, fur-bearing animals killed to make unnecessary fashion statements are forced to endure intensive confinement, compared to the miles of territory these still-wild animals would enjoy in their natural state. The natural instincts of these captive animals are completely frustrated; self-mutilation, sickness, infection, poor sanitation and the sheer stress of confinement lead animals in captivity to premature death. When they survive, animals of sufficient size are killed by anal electrocution or gassing, then skinned. In addition to liberating the wild animals destined for a certain, painful and agonizing death, another goal of liberationists is to cause economic damage to fur retailers and farms; dozens of stores and fur farming operations have seen economic ruin since “Operation Bite Back” began by the Animal Liberation Front in the 1990s.
Contrary to the rhetoric of those who profit from the abuse of these still-wild animals, captive mink are perfectly capable of surviving in the wild upon release, distributing themselves widely over an environment supportive to their livelihood. Again contrary to the disinformation put out by those who exploit the animals, they are not recaptured or run over by automobiles in significant numbers; biologic studies have confirmed that the majority of the animals released into the wild will survive.
The Animal Liberation Front and other anonymous activists utilize economic sabotage in addition to the direct liberation of animals from conditions of abuse and imprisonment to halt needless animal suffering. By making it more expensive to trade in the lives of innocent, sentient beings, they maintain the atrocities against our brothers and sisters are likely to occur in smaller numbers; their goal is to abolish the exploitation, imprisonment, torture and killing of innocent, non-human animals. A copy of the Final Nail, a listing of known fur farms in North America, is available from the Press Office website at www.animalliberationpressoffice.org]
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