Animal Protection > Worldwide Actions > Russia
30 thousand minks released from fur farm

September 05, 2006

On the night before September 3, animal rights defenders overthrew the fence of fur farm "Pioneer" ("Severnaya Pushnina" holding, Luzhsky district, Leningradskaja oblast), opened the cells and released 30 thousands minks. The animals spread in the neighbourhood as far as 5 km away from the farm. Judging by the quantity of cells opened, no less than 10 people participated in the action. Public relations department of "Severnaya Pushnina" declared that they have grounds to suppose that the activists of Animal Liberation Front (ALF) are responsible. The damage to the farm is estimated to 10 million roubles (~375.000 USD). Perhaps, the farm will not be able to rise up again after such a loss. The action is a serious strike for the whole Russian fur industry. Most of the released minks were of rare colour types. The selection has been performed for three years and it cannot be restored.

The general director of "Severnaya Pushnina" I.V. Parkalov says: "We hope this incident will not only be properly investigated, but also will pull more attention of administrative structures of Saint-Petersburg and the region towards the activity of such extremist nature-defending organizations". Photos from farm:
 -- Russian Animal Liberation Front Supporters Group

click thumbnail to enlarge

The video although filmed in darkness gives you a great idea of how it happened!

Russian ALF communique:

"At night on September, 3rd we came to territory of a fur farm "Pioneer" in settlement Pekhenets in 100 km to the south from St.Petersburg. We have decided, that because of good arrangement of a farm: near to reservoirs and big wood, it is perfect place for releasing minks. On the approach to the fur farm we started feeling strong specific smell of fur farm waste. You can only imagine how animals with much more sensitive noses, feel themselves in this constant bad smell. The farm has been surrounded by a fence which was easily broken with different tools. The parts of the fencing nearest to the wood have been removed and the gate was broken. When the easy way out from farm has been opened, we started to open cages. There were 2-3 minks sitting in each tiny cage with metal lattice instead of floor. Their life has been transformed into horror and if they not be rescued, they would be expected cruel end. Usually on such farms minks are killed by electricity, suffocation or poison. Till this moment all of them have the only way from the farm: in October-November to slaughter, but this starlit night everything has been changed. For many of them there was an opportunity to be rescued and find new home where their life will bring them pleasure, instead of sufferings.

We were opening cages one after one and heard how behind us minks went out of cages and flopped on the ground. They sniffed at all around and each other. The first time in their life they ran on grass and bathed in water, rushed one after another, playing. Those one, who saw this, would never forget it! Minks swarmed up roofs and fences, without any help they overcomed not tumbled down parts of the fencing and ran to the wood. The number of released animals was increasing and at the same time more and more cages became empty. More than 15,000 cages were opened this night and more than 30,000 animals got the chance to escape from this hell.

We know that many of them have been returned in cages, and we regret for it, but we are happy for each mink who could avoid returning to hands of executioners. Every rescued life was worth to do what we have done. We address to employees of this farm and those farms whom we shall visit in the future: leave animals alone! They are capable to live easy in the nature because the nature is their primary house. To those who work in these concentration camps we suggest: better to do something useful, for example, to grow up sprouts as you, by the way, sucessfully do it on the other part of your farm, where cages with animals were before. Let�s do it in the same manner!

Each person is capable to live without causing harm to another. Everyone can wear clothes without fur and leather. And many of people do this! Including us. We wanted and have changed our lives in such manner that other lives feel better. It means that others can easily do the same.

We have left inscriptions against murder of animals on one of the farm buildings. We hope that employees of fur farm will think on these words and something will change in their minds. The action has been recorded on video which we attached to this message. As well as we are, everyone can help animals to get freedom. Carefully plan the action and operate!

"Animal Liberation Front"

30tmink.wmv (14MB, wmv, 9 min).


Russian Animal Liberation Front Supporters Group 
RALF SG contact: (in russian language)

Russian animal rights activists have liberated 30,000 mink from a fur farm in the Luzhsky district, Leningradskaja oblast, an area in the north western part of Russia which includes St. Petersburg.

Russian animal rights activists have liberated 30,000 mink from a fur farm in the Luzhsky district, Leningradskaja oblast, an area in the north western part of Russia which includes St. Petersburg.

According to Russian media reports, the "Pioneer" fur farm, one of several fur farm investment holdings of the LLC Severnaya Pushnina, was targeted by the Russian Animal Liberation Front on the night of 2nd September. Activists allegedly scaled the farm's fence and opened an unspecified number of cages, releasing the mink to spread out as far as 5 km away from the farm. Slogans were also spray painted on the walls of one of the farm's buildings.

Police and spokespeople for Severnaya Pushnina speculate that, judging by the number of cages opened, no less than 10 activists had to have participated in the action.

The farm had been specialising in the breeding of rare colour type mink. Some of the specially coloured mink had been the result of a 3 year selection and breeding process and it is not expected that the farm will be able to recover the loss of the rare individuals. Because most of the mink were rare, the damage to the farm is estimated at 10 million roubles (�196,353).

The action is considered a serious blow to the Russian fur industry. I.V. Parkalov, general director of Severnaya Pushnina said, "We hope this incident will not only be properly investigated, but also will pull more attention of administrative structures of Saint-Petersburg and the region towards the activity of such extremist nature-defending organizations." However, Mr Parkalov was not asked to comment on the extremist activities of those involved in the fur farming industry.

Every year, over 50 million animals are killed so that their fur can be used by the fashion industry; that's more that 130,000 animals slaughtered every day just so that someone else can wear their coats. Worldwide, more than 30 million animals are bred and killed on intensive fur farms with a further 20 million trapped and killed in the wild. The most common animals used in the creation of fur garments are mink and foxes.

Animals are kept in long rows of barren wire cages in open-sided sheds. A typical cage for a mink measures 24" long by 10" wide. These cages, scarcely bigger than the animals themselves, are where they spend their entire lives.

In the wild, mink and foxes are predatory animals with complex behaviour patterns. Mink will roam over territories of up to 3 square kilometres and spend most of their time close to water. Foxes generally live in small family groups and arctic foxes are known to wander hundreds of kilometres from their place of birth. On fur farms the natural instincts of these species are cruelly stifled. The stress and deprivation caused by intensive confinement often result in the animals performing unnatural repetitive behaviours and can lead to self-mutilation.

Fur farms tend to follow a regular calendar. Animals are mated in February, give birth in May and offspring weaned at 6-7 weeks. Unless they are kept for breeding purposes, most mink and foxes are killed in November at about 7-8 months of age when their pelts are in prime condition.

Most mink are killed by gassing or lethal injection. Some are clubbed to death or have their necks broken. Foxes are most commonly electrocuted; one electrode is inserted into the animal's rectum and another into its mouth. The fox generally does not lose consciousness for between one and two minutes, and animals may later revive only to have to then undergo this cruelty again. The main reason for selecting these killing methods is to ensure that the fur is not damaged. Those carrying out the killing need no training or qualifications.

For information on this and other actions in Russia (Russian language), please visit .

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