Animal Rights Activist Arrested in South Bay for Freeing 2K Minks from Fur Farm

Prosecutors say Tyler Lang and Kevin Johnson wrote "Liberation is Love" on the side of a barn in Illinois last Aug. 14

A mink. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.
A mink. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

A pair of Los Angeles animal rights activists face federal charges for allegedly releasing 2,000 minks from their cages at a Chicago-area fur farm, according to an indictment unsealed today.

Tyler Lang, 25, and Kevin Johnson, 27, were charged with one count each of conspiracy and interstate travel to damage and interfere with the operations of an animal enterprise, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

The two-count indictment was returned by a federal grand jury in Chicago on Tuesday and unsealed following Lang's arrest today in El Segundo, officials said.

Johnson -- also known as "Kevin Oliff" -- is in state custody in Illinois on separate charges, authorities said.

Prosecutors said the men are suspected of releasing the critters from a fur farm in Morris, Ill., and writing the words "Liberation is Love" on a barn there last Aug. 14. The defendants also allegedly conspired to damage and interfere with the operations of a fox farm in Roanoke, Ill., northeast of Peoria, about the same time, officials said.

Both men are expected to be arraigned July 29 in a Chicago federal court.

According to the indictment, the farms were in the business of breeding, raising and selling the animals to fur manufacturers.

Between Aug. 5 and Aug. 15, 2013, Johnson and Lang traveled to Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin for the purpose of damaging and interfering with the operations of animal enterprises, including the mink and fox farms, federal prosecutors allege.

On Aug. 14 last year, they allegedly damaged real and personal property - - including animals and records -- and interfered with the operations of the mink farm, causing more than $10,000 in damages, the indictment states.

In addition to the release of 2,000 minks from their cages, portions of the fence surrounding the farm were removed, allowing the animals to escape from the property, officials said.

A caustic substance was also poured or sprayed on two farm vehicles, damaging the paint, according to the indictment.

Each charged count carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, and restitution is mandatory, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

According to various websites, including one called supportkevinandtyler.com, the men are longtime animal rights activists.

--City News Service

Ernie Zahn July 11, 2014 at 11:52 AM
you also have to think of the current eco system, and how putting 2K new animals of a foreign species will effect the plants and animals that currently reside there.
Sally Tephany July 11, 2014 at 01:06 PM
Why isn't farming animals solely for their skins considered animal abuse? It's not much different than raising fighting dogs or clubbing baby seals for profit. Barbaric!
Ernie Zahn July 11, 2014 at 01:19 PM
I found this article to be informative: http://www.montanatrappers.org/management/fur-farming.htm
Just Tim July 11, 2014 at 08:28 PM
Two spoiled liberal brats who will get to spend five years away from it all in paradise. Oh wait, the guys hanging out in these kids new paradise didn't have trust funds or enablers. Those folks will really teach them how the world works. Enjoy boys and don't drop the soap.
Psychic One July 12, 2014 at 07:46 AM
I'm completely against the raising of animals for their fur however this wasn't the answer to the problem. These poor animals will probably starve to death as the have spent their entire lives in cages being fed by humans. It's doubtful they will know how to hunt and find food. I hope there is a plan to try to catch them and relocate them to a safe environment.


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