A man who served six months in Dane County Jail for freeing minks from being skinned returned to Madison for the first time as a free man Tuesday.

Peter Young started a two-year prison sentence in fall 2005 after freeing between 8,000 and 12,000 minks from five different farms in the Midwest. Young was convicted under the Animal Enterprise Protection Act, according to Madison Coalition for Animal Rights member Kevin Carey.

"[The act] is a way to silence us because the government doesn't agree with our opinions, and it's a way to protect corporate profits," Carey said.
Young wanted to speak at UW to help people understand why he chose to violate the Animal Enterprise Protection Act, he said, and why animal rights activists are willing to commit such controversial acts for their cause.

"I have been motivated by what I've seen with my own eyes," Young said. "It's a tremendous burden to carry with you when you know too much. The only way to make it go away is if you go out after the sun sets and do what needs to get done."

According to Carey, people who raid fur and factory farms consider themselves part of the Animal Liberation Front. Other tactics participants use to fight for animal rights include targeting contract animal testing companies such as Covance and Huntington Life Science. These companies provide animal testing as a service, and anyone can hire them to do research on products like cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.

Carey said ALF is completely underground, their efforts to free factory and laboratory animals are in affiliation with ALF and there are no official members or meetings.

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