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Santa Cruz Indymedia

backgrounder on successful midwest liberation actions

FARMERS IN THE MIDWEST are reeling from four actions in the first week of August. Michigan and Wisconsin ATF, FBI and local law enforcement are quickly spending taxpayer dollars investigating the crime wave by ALF and ELF, the eco-anarchists of the Animal and Earth Liberation Fronts.

Midwest Crime Spree

The week began with a bang in Bristol, Kenosha County, Wisconsin on Tuesday, Aug. 3. Sometime between 4 and 5 a.m., vandals released about 3,000 domesticated mink from the Richard Krieger Farm. By 10 a.m. most of the mink were back safely on the farm, thanks to farmers and neighbors who came from two states to help.

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Students and teachers from a nearby elementary school were among the 50 or so friends and neighbors of mink farmer Richard Krieger who helped locate the animals." Unfortunately, as many as 100 animals were lost to stress, roadkill and dogs.

Working out of Vancouver, David Barbarash of the North American Animal Liberation Front Press Office stated that the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) had claimed responsibility for the attack.(1)

Crossing State Lines

The vandals next crossed the Wisconsin border, heading north to the tiny town of Escanaba on Michigan's Upper Peninsula. There, on Saturday, Aug. 7, they set fire to a fishing boat in the driveway of a local veterinarian.

Neighbors watching the Aurora Borealis spotted flames at 3:20 a.m. and awoke the sleeping doctor. Using a garden hose, James Boydston, DVM prevented gasoline-soaked materials from igniting a second boat, a runabout stored next to the fishing boat which was engulfed in flames. On the garage door, graffiti claimed guilt for the arson: "FUR IS MURDER. E.L.F."(2)

"Thank goodness for good neighbors," said Dr. Boydston. "A few more minutes and the garage would have caught fire."

ELF is the Earth Liberation Front, the same group that admitted guilt for the $12 million arson at Vail Resorts in Vail, Colorado, on Oct. 18, 1998. A week after that 1998 attack, ELF visited the Pipkorn mink ranch in Powers, Michigan, and released 5,000 domesticated mink.

More Arson

On Monday, Aug. 9, firefighters unsuccessfully battled a huge blaze that broke out at about 3 a.m. at United Feeds, west of Plymouth, Sheboygan County. Most of the building of United Feeds, a feed supplier to area fur farmers, was destroyed, resulting in $1.5 million in damage.

Fearing a bottleneck in the supply of ingredients to feed their hungry animals, local farmers began mixing feed on their farms and distributing it to those normally dependent on United Feeds.

An average mink consumes over 100 pounds a year of byproducts from the beef, dairy, poultry and fish-processing industries. Since Wisconsin is America's Dairy State and its number one mink-raising state (over 800,000 raised in 1998), the loss of the feed mill could disrupt the daily recycling of tons of inedible byproducts resulting from the production of food for humans.


Also on Aug. 9 at about 3 a.m., the same time as the fire raged at United Feeds, 3,000 domesticated mink were being released at Gene Meyer's Fur Farm in Plymouth, just 10 minutes away.

Over 100 neighbors and farmers helped recover the animals, safely returning them to their pens by early morning. At press time, it appeared that fewer than 150 animals had been lost to stress, dogs and roadkill.

Investigators are now working to determine if there's a connection between this attack and the United Feeds fire.


(1) ALF stated, "This farm was targeted not only because of Krieger's explotiation [sic] of the mink nation (although that would be reason enough), but because Krieger's farm is a direct supplier of Neiman-Marcus Department Stores. Through their support of such a farm, Neiman-Marcus shows absolutely no regard for Life or the eco-system. It appears that Neiman-Marcus is allied with Krieger and his fellow murderous farmers in their love of profits and greed over Life and Freedom. The Animal Liberation Front declares an open invitation to anyone who would dare to stop these groups' sick reign of terror. Now is the time for direct action. The only terrorism is the one we allow to exist. Until all these death camps are closed, we will continue to liberate."

(2) It is unclear why ELF should have singled out Boydston and written this graffiti. The ALF publication The Final Nail lists him as a fur farmer, but he left the business seven years ago. His only connection now with the fur industry is in his capacity as a vet, helping the local mink breeders association.

(3) Wisconsin State Representative Barbara Gronemus has introduced legislation that would increase the penalty for the unauthorized release of animals to a Class C felony and make the offender liable for damages and attorney fees. The bill has passed the Assembly and is awaiting Senate action. Click here to download the bill in PDF format.

Farmers Demand Action

"NOW MORE THAN EVER, we need our government to respond," said Linda Zimbal, fur farmer from Sheboygan, Wisconsin, following the latest outburst of animal rights terror.

"We fur farmers have signed onto the National Animal Interest Alliance's Call for Action, along with others raising livestock, animal research scientists, people from zoos, aquariums, pet breeders and many others, over a thousand groups representing over a million people.

"The Call for Action demands government commit the resources to stop vandals preying on the livestock industry, medical research and anyone who is involved in animal and resource-based industries."

During summer 1998, fur farmers were hit with a similar road trip of vandalism. Lest we forget:

* July 4: Middleton, WI, 150 mink released.
* Aug. 18: Pearl Lake, MN, 2,500 mink released.
* Aug. 20: Guttenberg, IA, 350 fox released.
* Aug. 21: Jewell, IA, 2,500 mink released.
* Aug. 27: Beloit, WI, 3,000 mink released.
* Aug. 28: Rochester, MN, 2,800 mink released.
* Oct. 26: Powers, MI, 5,000 mink released.

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