ROCKEFELLER TOWNSHIP, Pa. (WOLF) — A vandal reportedly broke into a mink farm in Pennsylvania, setting thousands of mink loose in the area.
State Police said Richard H. Stahl Sons in Rockefeller Township was vandalized sometime between midnight and 6:50 a.m. on Sunday.
It was reported that an unknown person cut holes in the fence surrounding the mink farm, releasing approximately 6,000 to 8,000 mink from their pens.
Numerous state agencies and farm staff are currently working on recovering the mink that escaped the fence, troopers said.
The act of vandalism has now sparked an argument about mink farms.
What the fur industry does to animals is egregiously cruel and violent. They cram mink into tiny, wired cages for their entire lives, and then they gas them every November. Every summer, we will see activists break in and free these animals from captivity and violent death," said Buddenburg. "The past two years, we've seen over 20,000 animals liberated from fur farms in the United States."
If left on the farm, they have a 100 percent death rate," he added.
Meanwhile, Fur Commission USA, a national, non-profit association representing U.S. mink farmers, released a statement regarding the incident.
This act is not just an attack on a single farm but a blow to rural communities and the surrounding ecosystem," the commission said. "The targeted farm is a legal, certified operation that adheres to stringent guidelines for humane animal care. It also contributes to the local economy by creating jobs and purchasing local supplies."
The commission also added: "Unfortunately, most will ultimately die from starvation, exposure or get hit by cars. Compare that to their lives on the farm, where they are fed a nutritionally balanced diet, have access to clean water, pens, and nest boxes for shelter, along with access to veterinarian care -- all provided by the farmer."
Anyone with information on the incident is asked to contact State Police at Stonington at 570-286-5601.
The Sunbury Animal Hospital, located along Route 890, urged the surrounding community to be cautious.
Mink are not pets and should not be approached as they can be aggressive, the hospital said.
All pets should be kept inside, but owners should monitor their pets if left outside at all.
Officials are also asking the community to please not drive around the area out of curiosity.