August 13, 2007

[Berkshire Eagle - reference to AETA]

HINSDALE -- More than 300 mink are still running loose in the Hinsdale hills after 400 to 500 of the valuable weasellike creatures were released from their cages early yesterday morning at Berkshire Furs, a mink farm on Route 143.

Earl Carmel, who owns the mink farm with his wife, Jeanne, is certain that animal-rights activists, whom he calls "antis" or "anti-fur people," are to blame for the farm's loss. "Who else would have done it?" he asked.
Teresa Platt, spokeswoman for Fur Commission USA, a nonprofit representing more than 600 American mink farmers, called the trespassers' release of the minks an act of "ecoterrorism."

"It's usually three to six people driving around causing trouble. They often get into a car and go across a couple of states," Platt said. "They'll hit a shoe store because they are selling leather goods. They'll hit a McDonald's, or a mink or chicken farm. They don't agree with the ownership or use of any animals."
Each animal was stored in a pen that carried detailed information on its lineage; with the mink freed, the owners have no way of knowing what line they come from.

"(The trespassers) have ruined the breeding records," Platt said. "They lost the lineage for each animal. (The Carmels) have to start from scratch and may have to buy new breeding stock."
But the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, signed into law last November, has made consequences of intentional damage or interference with an animal enterprise more severe.

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