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Utah ARA Gets 2 Years in Prison for Mink Liberation

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Depending on who you believe, William James Viehl is either Harriet Beecher Stowe or a terrorist.

U.S. District Court Judge Dee Benson voted for the latter and on Thursday sentenced Viehl to two years in prison for releasing hundreds of minks from a South Jordan farm.

"I don't know any better word for it than 'terror,'" Benson said during a long explanation of his decision. "It's a form of terrorism."

Viehl last year pleaded guilty to one count of damaging and interfering with animal enterprises. On Aug. 19, 2008, Viehl helped release about 425 female and 225 male minks from the farm. Vehicles hit and killed seven, seven died of stress and 20 were never recovered, said the farm's owner, Lindsey McMullin. Viehl and his co-defendant also are accused of removing pedigree tags, forcing the McMullins to sell the females for their pelts rather than breeding them.

The bandits also spray painted "ALF," for Animal Liberation Front, on a barn and the words, "We are watching."

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[Park Record]

A report compiled by an animal-rights group, a how-to guide for carrying out attacks against mink ranchers, targets several fur farms on the East Side of Summit County. Author Peter Young claims the 62-page document represents "the largest collection of fur industry intelligence to date."

The title of the booklet: "The Blueprint Fur Farm Intelligence Project: The Full Report."
There are about 90 fur farms in Utah, according to Young. His report lists addresses, telephone numbers and descriptions for about 15 working mink ranches from Henefer to Oakley. Animal activists have used tactics considered violent by some people to release captive mink, which are bred for their fur for use in clothing items.

"'The Blueprint' is a little disturbing. Basically, what 'The Blueprint' is, is a terrorist handbook," a mink rancher in Coalville told The Park Record on Wednesday.

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