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Furs, Felonies, & You:
Animals! Activism! Anarchy!

Freedom for Furry Critters Comes At the
Cost of Convictions for Animal Activists

Mink are tiny little rodent creatures that people murder so they can make clothing out of them.

In October 1997, a roughly-estimated 3,000 mink (tiny rodent creatures with fur that is used for high-end fashion) escaped from a mink ranch.  They survived their fate as future fur coats thanks to a 20-foot hole cut in one of the mink-proofed fences around the ranch.  The mink didn’t run through that hole though – their liberator, a man named  Peter Daniel Young – used it to get to the gates that held the mink in pens.  He then opened the gates, freeing the mink to run amok… and to freedom.

Part-owner in the ranch Kelly Turbak explained “We don’t know how many will die, maybe as many as 1,000…  Generally they’ll stay pretty close around. They’re domesticated and can’t fend for themselves.”.  Less than 24 hours later, more than 1,000 of the furry escapees had been recaptured and once again destined to die on the path to becoming fur coats rather than starving to death outside of the ranch.

A few weeks later, Peter and his co-conspirator Justin Samuel had their car impounded while driving between other farms they were hoping to ‘raid’ (break into and free the animals from).  They had been pulled over after their car was called in by other suspicious mink farmers in the area, who had been on high alert.

Eventually in September of 1998, charges would be filed against both Peter Daniel Young and Justin Samuel… but just like the mink they freed, the two of them went on the run….for years!  In fact, Peter Young wouldn’t be captured until 2005.  After being captured, he was sentenced to serve two years in federal prison, more than $254,000 in fines, and 360 hours of community service benefiting  – as the judge said at the time of sentencing- “humans and no other species.”

The trouble wasn’t over for Young even by late 2007 when he was released.  Since the act of releasing all the mink racked up a number of state crimes, Young was also faced with a number of state charges before his own ordeal was over including third degree burglary, intentional damage to property and animal enterprise trespass!


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Questions:

1. Why do you agree or disagree with the cause?

2. Why do you agree or disagree with the action?

3. Why do you agree or disagree with the punishment / consequences?

4. What cause – if any – would make you want to knowingly break the law, and why?

5. What are some better courses of action you can think of besides breaking the law in support of a cause you care about, or if you feel there aren’t any, what obstacles would prevent your from engaging in lawful resistance?


Be sure to provide full explanations for each of your answers. For more details, you can read the article this piece was sourced from here:

https://siouxcityjournal.com/news/state-and-regional/state-charges-filed-for-raid-on-mink-farm/article_77722678-bdaa-5f19-9cdd-1027ed21bd58.html

https://www.nytimes.com/1997/10/19/us/national-news-briefs-mink-escape-from-pen-after-fence-is-cut.html

https://globegazette.com/news/local/iowa-s-history-with-animal-rights-activists-goes-back-many/article_eab92b0a-144b-11e3-afff-0019bb2963f4.html


Contributed By:  -M. Kamer




Thank you for letting us experience court for the first time.  It was the best experience ever, thank you for everything. You really made me think about being a judge. Thank you


-Mina L [ Twitchell Elementary - Grade 5]

Project Real
2020-12-16T22:04:09+00:00
Thank you for letting us experience court for the first time.  It was the best experience ever, thank you for everything. You really made me think about being a judge. Thank you -Mina L [ Twitchell Elementary - Grade 5]

My favorite part of the fieldtrip to the courthouse is when I got to play the part of Ron. I got to go on the witness chair and speaking. I helped Potter to be not guilty. Thank you for the great opportunity.


- Johnathan M  [Harmon Elementary - Grade 4]
Project Real
2020-12-16T21:47:04+00:00
My favorite part of the fieldtrip to the courthouse is when I got to play the part of Ron. I got to go on the witness chair and speaking. I helped Potter to be not guilty. Thank you for the great opportunity. - Johnathan M  [Harmon Elementary - Grade 4]

Thank you for letting us watch the civil case!  It was cool because it was a real case and not one played out. I had a lot of fun watching the other kids act out a session.  Thank you for your time.

- Kaylie [Hewetson Elementary - Grade 5]

Project Real
2020-12-11T20:39:35+00:00
Thank you for letting us watch the civil case!  It was cool because it was a real case and not one played out. I had a lot of fun watching the other kids act out a session.  Thank you for your time. - Kaylie [Hewetson Elementary - Grade 5]
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