EDEN VALLEY, Minnesota — Some 15,000 mink have died after suspected animal rights activists broke into a Minnesota mink farm and set loose tens of thousands of the animals from their cages, authorities said.
The Stearns County Sheriff’s office says the break-in occurred early Monday at Lang Farms with the unknown culprits dismantling a section of the farm’s exterior fence and then opening up cages housing 40,000 minks.
The mink are farm raised, so are domesticated and cannot survive in the wild as they rely entirely on humans for food and water, police said.
Nearly 50 area farmers helped the Lang family recover as many as they could, but 15,000 were found dead and an additional 14,000 remain missing. Only 11,000 have been recovered, police said.
“We just threw mink in pens to try to get as many back as we could. And now they are killing each other,” Dan Lang told the St. Cloud Times. “And they’re still dying. They are still dying from heat stress.”
Police say the loss has been valued at $750,000. Lang said the emotional loss was worse.
“I’m so sick of crying. It’s unbelievable,” he said. “I wish these people that did this would come here every day for two weeks, and they could help pick up the dead ones.”
The press office for the Animal Liberation Front, a militant animal rights group, said it had not received any claim of responsibility for the break-in at Lang Farms.