News :: Animal rights

Devastating blow to Russian fur industry: 30,000 mink reported liberated

Russian animal rights activists have liberated 30,000 mink from a fur farm in the Luzhsky district, Leningradskaja oblast, an area in the north western part of Russia which includes St. Petersburg.
30,000 mink reported liberated in Russia
September 5, 2006

Russian animal rights activists have liberated 30,000 mink from a fur farm in the Luzhsky district, Leningradskaja oblast, an area in the north western part of Russia which includes St. Petersburg.

According to Russian media reports, the "Pioneer" fur farm, one of several fur farm investment holdings of the LLC Severnaya Pushnina, was targeted by the Russian Animal Liberation Front on the night of 2nd September. Activists allegedly scaled the farm's fence and opened an unspecified number of cages, releasing the mink to spread out as far as 5 km away from the farm. Slogans were also spray painted on the walls of one of the farm's buildings.

Police and spokespeople for Severnaya Pushnina speculate that, judging by the number of cages opened, no less than 10 activists had to have participated in the action.

The farm had been specialising in the breeding of rare colour type mink. Some of the specially coloured mink had been the result of a 3 year selection and breeding process and it is not expected that the farm will be able to recover the loss of the rare individuals. Because most of the mink were rare, the damage to the farm is estimated at 10 million roubles (£196,353).

The action is considered a serious blow to the Russian fur industry. I.V. Parkalov, general director of Severnaya Pushnina said, "We hope this incident will not only be properly investigated, but also will pull more attention of administrative structures of Saint-Petersburg and the region towards the activity of such extremist nature-defending organizations." However, Mr Parkalov was not asked to comment on the extremist activities of those involved in the fur farming industry.

Every year, over 50 million animals are killed so that their fur can be used by the fashion industry; that's more that 130,000 animals slaughtered every day just so that someone else can wear their coats. Worldwide, more than 30 million animals are bred and killed on intensive fur farms with a further 20 million trapped and killed in the wild. The most common animals used in the creation of fur garments are mink and foxes.

Animals are kept in long rows of barren wire cages in open-sided sheds. A typical cage for a mink measures 24" long by 10" wide. These cages, scarcely bigger than the animals themselves, are where they spend their entire lives.

In the wild, mink and foxes are predatory animals with complex behaviour patterns. Mink will roam over territories of up to 3 square kilometres and spend most of their time close to water. Foxes generally live in small family groups and arctic foxes are known to wander hundreds of kilometres from their place of birth. On fur farms the natural instincts of these species are cruelly stifled. The stress and deprivation caused by intensive confinement often result in the animals performing unnatural repetitive behaviours and can lead to self-mutilation.

Fur farms tend to follow a regular calendar. Animals are mated in February, give birth in May and offspring weaned at 6-7 weeks. Unless they are kept for breeding purposes, most mink and foxes are killed in November at about 7-8 months of age when their pelts are in prime condition.

Most mink are killed by gassing or lethal injection. Some are clubbed to death or have their necks broken. Foxes are most commonly electrocuted; one electrode is inserted into the animal's rectum and another into its mouth. The fox generally does not lose consciousness for between one and two minutes, and animals may later revive only to have to then undergo this cruelty again. The main reason for selecting these killing methods is to ensure that the fur is not damaged. Those carrying out the killing need no training or qualifications.

For information on this and other actions in Russia (Russian language), please visit

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An inglorious peace is better than a dishonorable war.
-- Mark Twain
Source: "Glances at History" (suppressed)

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