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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: North Bay / Marin | San Francisco | U.S. | Animal Liberation
Colorado mink farm raided, forced to close
Activists raid, shut down mink farm days after its location is made public.
Owner announces the farm will close after every animal is released at a small Colorado mink farm.
“I won’t be doing the mink anymore. I can’t afford to... get back into it. I’m really tired of fighting.” - mink farm owner Doyle Checketts
In a communique received by Bite Back, the Earth Liberation Front claimed responsibility for releasing 200 mink Thursday night from the only known fur farm in Colorado. The owner of the farm immediately announced the farm would shut down.
Existence of farm first made public just 3 days ago
The raid comes just 72 hours after the existence of the farm was first made public in an article headlined "Moffat County mink farm relocation proposal causing a stink." The article, published Tuesday, covered resistance to the farm's attempt to expand on a new property. Prior to the article, there were no known fur farms in the state.
While the article did not list the farm's address, it did offer several clues to the farm's location, including the name of it's owner. This raid is a testimony to both the investigative ability and quick action of animal liberators, who located a farm within 72 hours with only a name, and then shut it down.
The communique revealed the exact address to be 622 Valley View Drive in rural Moffat County, 8 miles west of Craig, Colorado.
Address of future mink farm location also revealed
The ELF also determined the property where the farm had applied to relocate, and published it in their communique as:
35591 North Hwy 13
The owner of this property, James Gore, states he still intends to open a mink farm on this property, despite the closure of the farm that was attempting to relocate there.
With the Animal Liberation Front (and Earth Liberation Front) so quick to raid newly discovered farms, and the ELF publicizing this address in their communique, the odds are very much against James Gore in opening this farm without intervention from animal liberators.
A quarter of the mink remain free
While figures directly from fur farmers are never to be trusted, the owners reported that 50 of the 200 mink remain free as of Friday.
Losses estimated at $250,000
The raid caused a massive amount of financial damages for a release of only 200 animals. While the value of their pelts was estimated at only $10,000, the farmer had a contract to sell the breeding stock to a Danish company for $250,000. Because the breeding stock have intermixed with non-breeding stock, and the farmer can no longer tell them apart, he is unable to sell them as breeding stock and is out a quarter of a million dollars.
Fur farm siege continues
This hugely successful raid comes after 9 previous fur farm raids in four months, the biggest surge of activity since the 1990s. The last animal release occurred in early October, when a lone activist took credit for releasing 450 mink from a farm in Minnesota. Additional liberations took place in Montana, Idaho, Utah, Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
With only a name in a newspaper article to work with, courageous individuals were able locate a mink farm in less than three days, and shut it down in one night.
"On the night of November 14th, the Earth Liberation Front visited the previously unknown Colorado mink farm of Monte Ages, located at 622 Valley View Drive in Moffat County. This is one of the smallest mink farms in operation, so opening nearly every cage took very little time. The mink understood our mission and quite literally flew to the ground to make a dash for freedom. To cause the deranged Mr. Ages more financial trouble, breeding cards were removed and strewn about, and thrown in the piles of mink waste.
Michael Whelan will offer the same tired lies in response to this action. He advises farmers to 'sympathize with the poor, lost animals.' The lost wild animals who are now able to move freely, who will no longer be subject to Michael and his friends preferred methods of execution in the pelting season just two weeks away.
The truth is that mink are not domesticated. They are captive bred, and only for the quality of their pelts. Mink are aquatic animals who are solitary in the wild and travel several miles per day. The surrounding area of Moffat County is pristine wildlife habitat. The ones who escaped this wildlife prison will now live out their lives along the Little Snake and Yampa Rivers.
Mr. Ages has plans to move and expand his operation to 35591 North Hwy 13 in the town of Craig. This will not be tolerated. Your dreams of despoiling Northwest Colorado, contaminating our drinking water, and exploiting native american wildlife will turn into a nightmare. There will be consequences when darkness falls.
We send a salute to those courageous few who continue to fight alongside the earth and animals, even as your work is overshadowed by the bloggers, video editors, and all manner of self-aggrandizing activists."
John Ages, who helps Monty Ages and Doyle Checketts run their mink farm, holds up a female mink that was caught after being released purposefully by an unknown individual or group.