3,000 mink released from Wisconsin farm in nighttime raid by animal activists

Thousands of mink were released from a western Wisconsin fur farm this week as a result of an apparent nighttime raid by animal activists.

In an alert on Wednesday, the Trempealeau County Sheriff's Office said approximately 3,000 mink were freed from a farm in the township of Lincoln, about 30 miles east of Wabasha, Minnesota. Deputies say that between the hours of 11 p.m. on Aug. 11 and 3:45 a.m. the following morning, someone entered the farm by cutting a hole in a chain-link fence.

In an online post on Wednesday, the Animal Liberation Front, an activist group labeled an extremist movement by the FBI, shared a message from the culprit admitting they freed the animals and identifying the farm that was targeted as the Olsen Fur Farm outside Independence, Wisconsin.

Deputies say the farm has been targeted in the past. According to the Animal Liberation Front post, a previous raid happened in 1997. In that event, they say 800 mink were released.

The Trempealeau County Sheriff's Office is asking anyone who noticed anything unusual on the night of the release in the area of State Road 121 to call dispatch at 715-538-4351 or email dispatch@co.trempealeau.wi.us.

Mink are small animals that look similar to a weasel. They are often bred for their fur which is in turn used in fashion products. In recent years, activists say the mink industry has shrunk significantly as fur has become a faux pas in fashion. In a separate post last month, the Animal Liberation Front celebrated the closure of a fur ranch in Le Center, Minnesota.

Goat fence cut in Chaska

In a separate incident, a goat herd at a Chaska park was released after someone apparently cut the fence.

In a statement, the city said the goats were from a company called "B3 Goats" that had been brought to Savanna Oak Park to eat invasive plants. Officials say a neighbor spotted the goats leaving the pen and called B3 Goats, who were able to get the herd back in the containment fencing with help from some neighbors.

It's unclear why and how the fence was cut and, at this time, FOX 9 isn't aware of any connection between the Chaska incident and the Wisconsin mink farm.

In a statement, Chaska official Brent Alcott said: "That action has put the future of the project at risk. If we can’t make sure the goats are safe in the park, we will have to end the project. Since this project is designed to create a natural space the whole neighborhood can enjoy, we hope it doesn’t come to that. We would appreciate it if you could talk to your neighbors, friends, and family about the importance of keeping the goats safe in their pen and the overall benefits it will provide to the neighborhood."