A.L.F. Raids Close Two Fur Farms! $2.25 Million Blaze at Alaskan Fur!
from No Compromise Issue 5
 

By JP Goodwin

The A.L.F. has been very busy in the last few months and this increase in action couldn't have been more timely. As we move into both the fur retail season, and the killing season on fur farms, underground activists are striking out, trying to stop as much of the suffering as possible.

A.L.F. cells have been attacking fur retailers with window smashing, paint bombs, and glued locks. Active cells have been creating headaches for furriers in Minneapolis, Washington, DC, New York City and Dallas among others. A communique from a Dallas group claimed that they had even sprayed muriatic acid (available at hardware stores) through a furrier's mail slot, and apparently doused the room.

Fur farms still continue to be the A.L.F.'s number one target, and with good reason. Demand from Asian countries is making fur farming profitable, very profitable. It is conceivable that we could destroy the retail fur industry in North America and Western Europe, but if growth continues at its current rate, China, Russia and South Korea could consume enough fur within five years to keep fur farmers very busy.

There are some potholes in the road though. If there is a shortage of fur, and current demand cannot be met, then fur will not take off in those areas. If the fur farm industry is shut down by direct action then Asian demand will be irrelevant. There are about 450 mink farms in the US, along with a hundred or so small fox farms, and another hundred or so chinchilla farms. If the A.L.F. continues with an increased pace in 1997, then it will be interesting to see which fur farmers can remain in business.

It was reported last issue that the A.L.F. had raided the Jorney Mink Ranch in Alliance, OH. Justine Jorney is the president of the Ohio Mink Breeders Association, and the A.L.F. is gunning for her. Her farm was raided again on September 28th, and this time 8,000 mink were released. News footage claimed that this farm was struggling to survive after the second raid. Mink were seen several cities away, doing just fine. This farm is three times bigger than the average mink ranch, and its collapse would be a major victory for animal liberation.

The A.L.F. carried out 6 raids in October. On October 2nd the A.L.F. attacked the Paul Westwood Fur Farm in Salem, UT. 1,500 mink were released and breeding records were destroyed.

Moving quickly to the New England area, the A.L.F. attacked the Gauthier Fur Farm in Lindboro, NH. 35 fox and 10 mink were released, and property was damaged. A local news station did an interview with a disguised individual (voice over, etc.) who claimed to be in the A.L.F.. Killing footage from fur farms was shown on the news, along with the interview. This led to more public education than could ever be accomplished with letter writing or passing out flyers.

On October 11th the A.L.F. made a second raid on Carmel Mink ranch in Hinsdale, MA. The Carmels had installed infra-red security beams which shot out over the tops of the cages. When a cage was opened, the current was broken, and presumably an alarm would be set off somewhere. The A.L.F. went to work anyway, opening 75 cages before the farmer came out and chased them off.

The next fur farm raid occurred on October 23rd in Lebanon, OR. Arnold Kroll lost 2,000 mink in a raid that made major headlines throughout the state. A.L.F. cells in Oregon have already forced the Oregon State University Experimental Mink Farm and Malecky Mink Ranch out of business. Hopefully, they will continue the tradition and shut the last 27 Oregon mink farms down.

Just a day later, the A.L.F. was in Utah for the fifth time. During the early morning hours of October 25th the A.L.F. raided the Reese fur farm, and released 2,000 mink and 200 fox. It began to appear as if Utah, which has more fur farms than any other state, would set the tone for the battle over fur farms in the coming years.

Newspapers have stated that some Utah ranchers are sleeping in their trucks with shotguns cradled in their arms. Those who are in bed at night are so paranoid that the slightest noise has them jumping up and running outside. Some farms have put up heavy duty electric fencing, and installed flood lights. I guess this was to put the finishing touches on their concentration camp appearance. Others have security dogs, security guards and/or hourly patrols. Either way, the A.L.F. has proven that they will by-pass all of this and free the animals, one way or another.

The campaign continued with another repeat attack at the Bennett Fur Farm in Victor, NY. This time the A.L.F. had to cut down 3 perimeter fences to gain access to the compound. This was a huge mink ranch until the A.L.F. targeted them last April. Now the A.L.F. states that they had 40 or 50 empty sheds, and the group could only find a small number of fox. 46 of these fox were liberated, and breeding records were destroyed, before an incoming security truck forced them to evacuate.

Perhaps one of the most devastating anti-fur actions taken by the A.L.F. this year was on November 12th at the Alaskan Fur Co., a retailer in the Minneapolis suburb of Bloomington, MN. Someone threw an incendiary device through the window, destroying the first floor of this two story furrier. $2.25 million in damage was done.

At this point, the A.L.F. has not claimed the action, but most people suspect that it was anti-fur militants. Alaskan Fur Co. had been targeted for spray painting, etc. in years past. After the news reported the fire, the Coalition to Abolish the Fur Trade sent out a press release supporting the attack. This led to a media feeding frenzy. All 4 Minneapolis TV stations ran it as the top story, and one even showed fur farm footage as well. CAFT members did several radio interviews and debates, and there was extensive news coverage in Minneapolis and St. Paul newspapers.

Marsha Kelly of Fur Commission USA refused to directly debate a CAFT representative, and then spent most of her airtime talking about meat and vivisection, etc. This falls in line with her statement to Fur Rancher magazine in the Fall of 1992. At that time she claimed that the fur industry must direct attention to other, more accepted forms of animal exploitation. "It is not in our best interest to focus on ourselves" she said. I wonder why that would be?

The fur trade claimed to be on a rebound, but we shall see what really happens. So long as the A.L.F. maintains constant pressure, it is safe to say that many will feel it is a wise business decision to leave the fur industry.

Pro-Animal Ballot Initiatives Get Mixed Results

On election day numerous states ran ballot initiatives pertaining to hunting and trapping. Massachusetts and Colorado passed laws banning trapping. Those are the first two states to completely ban fur trapping.

Massachusetts also banned the use of bait and hounds for bear hunting, and repealed the requirement that the DNR be made up of hunters. Washington banned the use of bait for bear hunting and the use of dogs for hunting bear, mountain lion, lynx and bobcat.

Alaska banned land and shoot hunting of wolves and will hopefully stop any future wolf control plans in that state. And in Oregon we defeated a hunter sponsored initiative to repeal all wildlife initiatives ever passed and give exclusive management control to the hunter dominated Fish and Game Dept.

While we achieved those victories, we did lose on initiatives to ban bear baiting and the use of hounds to hunt bear in Idaho and Michigan.

The trapping bans couldn't have come at a more crucial time. The number of trappers will increase this year, as fur prices are higher because of fur demand in the Far East. It would be a major mistake to move away from trapping issues now that we have built up some momentum, but that is exactly what some plan to do. If wild caught fur catches on in the Far East, before we take trapping out everywhere, then the trappers will have a lot more money to use against us.

It is ridiculous that trapping is still legal in the US. 79% of the general public supports a trapping ban, but some groups that sponsor these initiatives would rather move on towards other things like dog fighting, etc. I hate dog fighting, but trapping causes millions more to suffer and die each year.

CAFT urges all groups involved in legislation to take a serious look at anti-trapping possibilities. We can provide assistance and resources to anyone interested.

JP Goodwin is the Executive Director of CAFT. He can be reached at CAFT, PO Box 822411, Dallas, TX 75382; (214) 503-1419; BanFurNow@aol.com.