Animal rights activist let loose mink in Northern Utah and Southeast Idaho

A file photo of Jackson Hobbs holding one of the mink they raise on their Franklin County farm. Animal rights activist opened cages to let mink out recently.

LOGAN – It’s been a rough couple of years for Utah fur farmers. Prices are down and many have gone out of business because of over production. Adding to their troubles, last month animal rights activists are back at it. They claimed responsibility for releasing approximately 2,000 mink and vandalizing fur farms in Northern Utah and Southern Idaho in mid-September.

More than 85 percent of pelts used in the world’s fur trade comes from small, family-run farms. There are approximately 275 mink farms in the US most are in Utah.

Michael Whelan, the executive director of Fur Commission USA, confirmed the release of mink by the activist and said most of the mink stayed near their nesting boxes.

“All the mink released came from farms that had not tested positive for coronavirus and 90 percent were recaptured,” Whelan said. “When the animals are released, they don’t want to leave the farm.”

He said the mink may go to the roads if they hear traffic because traffic noises sound the same has a tractor that feeds them. So, they may head to the road where they get hit by vehicles.

“I would like to assure the public that there is minimal chance mink can infect humans,” he said. “The mink caught the COVID from laborers that had the disease,” Whalen said. “But it effects the older mink and within four or five days some mink are cleared.”

Today, Utah leads the country in mink farms and Idaho is right behind them. Wisconsin produces the largest number of mink in the country.

When COVID-19 infected the mink, it killed nearly thousands of them in Utah County; none of mink were euthanized. Like any livestock owner, mink ranchers are not happy their animals are sick, but they have taken the proper precautions and want to assure the public that they pose no threat to humans, the executive director said.

“They found the virus started with workers who spread it to other workers who were socializing after work,” he said. “The farmers are making sure the employees are tested.”

All the farmers in the state are hunkering down trying to get through the season.

Most of the ranchers do what they can to prevent diseases,” Whelan said. “I expect other farms to have no problems.”

The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) corroborated Whelan’s version of the infection. USDA officials said humans working on the farm were infected with COVID-19 in July. They were likely the ones who transferred the virus to the animals — there are no signs that the mink infected any workers.

A file photo of Lew Palmer of Preston feeding his mink in one of his sheds

The Fur Commission USA reported more than 85% of pelts used in the world’s fur trade come from small, family-run farms. There are approximately 275 mink farms in 23 states across the USA and they produce about 3 million pelts annually, with a value of more than $300 million USD (2013).

Wisconsin is the leading mink-producing state, generating well over 1 million pelts. Other important producers are Utah, Idaho, Oregon and Minnesota.


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  • Dean October 12, 2020 at 11:34 pm Reply

    Just a bunch of domestic terrorist and trespassers, Nick Atwood’s Animal Rights Foundation of Florida.

  • Paula October 13, 2020 at 11:30 am Reply

    Next time load the mink in a truck and take them to a forest. ??? I am for the animals……as always.

    • Steve October 15, 2020 at 3:07 pm Reply

      Paula, mink don’t live in a forest. They live along water ways. You may be for the animals, but you don’t appear to know much about them.

  • Holise Cleveland October 14, 2020 at 12:17 pm Reply

    The mink industry is founded on sadism. Their fur is not required for garments to keep people warm because there are other cruelty-free options that achieve the same result. There are also compassionate alternatives when it comes to fashion. It makes no sense that the fur industry even exists in modern times unless they are catering to sadists and Satanists.

    “Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
    ~ Albert Einstein

    “And those who dismiss love for our fellow creatures as mere sentimentality overlook a good and important part of our humanity. But it takes nothing away from a human to be kind to an animal. And it is actually within us to grant them a happy life and a long one.” – Joaquin Phoenix | EARTHLINGS

    • Martin L October 15, 2020 at 3:11 pm Reply

      You are crazy. Some animals only exist to keep us clothed and fed. If you don’t want to wear mink, don’t, but allow others to make up their own mind and wear fur if they want. I’m sure you are in favor of tolerance and allow others to have something that you may not want?

  • Tracey Feeney October 14, 2020 at 12:42 pm Reply

    There is no longer a need to wear or utilize animal skins or fur. We have great synthetics that have been developed for even the coldest climates. Fur farms utilize cruel un-natural practices which cause the beings to suffer. Then kill the animals for what? For money. For “fashion”??? #Endthefurtrade
    When there is a victim, it is NOT terrorism. The motivation is compassion. Not hatred or financial gain. #BEKINDBEVEGAN

    • Eric Nix October 17, 2020 at 3:16 pm Reply

      You are full of crap.

  • Don Davis October 15, 2020 at 3:13 pm Reply

    Cache Valley appears to be filled with a group of animal rights activists. If you don’t like fur, don’t do it, but why do you think you can impose your ideas on the rest of us? Lighten up and eat your vegies, eat your synthetics and then shut the hell up and be a little more tolerant.

  • Julene Mathews October 17, 2020 at 3:30 pm Reply

    For those who feel synthetic furs are better? You haven’t done any research as to the great amount of polluting chemicals poured into the environment making them. Since that’s mainly in other countries I guess you can wash your soul of that responsibility. Synthetic isn’t better, just different.

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