17:03 GMT +316 December 2019
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    Mink looking out from a cage at a mink farm

    Fighting 'Terrorism': FBI Nabs Activists for Releasing Thousands of Mink

    © AFP 2019 / DANIL SEMYONOV
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    The FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force has reportedly arrested two animal rights activists after they freed about 5,740 mink from farms and vandalized the houses and cars of fur industry members.

    Two animal rights activists have been accused of terrorizing the US' fur industry during cross-country trips in 2013, during which they released around 5,740 mink from farms; they also vandalized the houses and cars of fur industry members before being eventually arrested by the FBI, news reports said.

    31-year-old Joseph Brian Buddenberg and 28-year-old Nicole Juanita Kissane, both living in Oakland, California, have been charged with conspiracy to violate the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act.

    In a statement on Friday, US Attorney Laura Duffy harshly condemned the pair's actions which caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages. 

    "Whatever your feelings about the fur industry, there are legal ways to make your opinions known. The conduct alleged here, sneaking around at night, stealing property and vandalizing homes and businesses with acid, glue, and chemicals, is a form of domestic terrorism and can't be permitted to continue, " Duffy was quoted by the Associated Press as saying.

    During cross-country trips in the summer and the fall of 2013, the pair covertly entered farms in Iowa, Idaho, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, releasing mink and destroying breeding records.

    According to the FBI, they cut vehicles' tires, glued locks or smashed the windows of homes in San Diego, Spring Valley and La Mesa, California.
    The two allegedly managed to escape police by avoiding mobile phones or logging into known online email accounts. Instead, they used public Internet computers and encrypted email and cash for purchases. 

    They also posted communiques on the websites related to "animal rights extremists," the FBI said.

    The court hearing is scheduled for Tuesday as the two remain under house arrest with electronic monitoring.  If convicted, they each face a 250,000-dollar fine and up to ten years behind bars. 

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    Tags:
    Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), houses, actions, damages, conspiracy, fur industry, mink, United States
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