Animal activists struck at least four different fur farms in Spain and France earlier in October, releasing approximately 20,000 of the animals. Some mink were recaptured.
The mink farmers who were targeted now say they have lost their livelihoods. There were two different raids, according to Bite Back magazine, one during the night of October 15, with the other occurring sometime overnight October 19. In both attacks, cages were opened, water systems vandalized and fencing cut to allow and encourage the animals to escape. The mink are grown for two purposes -- breeding stock and fur coats. Spanish police believe the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) was behind the raids. The ALF is a controversial group which has engaged in tactics that some have characterized as violent, in order to protect animals used in laboratory testing. The group advocates volunteering at animal shelters, letter writing campaigns and becoming a vegetarian among other steps a person can take to help animals. The ALF has posted the information on the mink release as reported to Bite Back, which is a reporting site for ALF.
Mink in Sweden, Denmark and Italy were also targeted in October by animal activists. On October 2, activists in Italy burned a pelt shed and destroyed breeding records, as well as liberating the captive mink.
Mink have been farmed in the United States for 135 years. The United States is the world's fifth largest mink fur producer. Denmark, China, the Netherlands and Poland produce the most mink. Canada also has a few mink farms. A bill to ban mink farming in Europe has passed a second vote. If approved, the ban will take effect in 2018. Farmers say the ban is "immoral." Mink are harvested for their fur when they are approximately five to six months old.
Mink is very popular for coats. Prices range, depending on the size of the coat.
The European Fur Breeders Association issued a release earlier this month showing a decline in world mink production.