UPDATE (Idaho's First News): 3:39 PM - Michael Whelan with the Fur Commission USA has issued a news release on behalf of the Moyle Mink Farm. There were a total of 7 sheds raided. Each shed could house up to 600 mink but not all the sheds were full. Under 4,000 mink were released.

Here is a copy of the news release issued on behalf of the mink farm.

In the early morning hours of Sunday July 28, animal rights terrorists broke into a Burley Idaho mink ranch, destroyed fencing, breeding records and over-turned thousands of mink pens. Between 2,000 and 3,000 mink were released from their cages, though only a small fraction ever left the mink yard. Over 60 friends and neighbors helped collect the scared and traumatized animals throughout the following day.

“We are so grateful to our neighbors that have come to help us in our time of need.” said ranch owner Cindy Moyle. “The people who did this have no idea how stressful it is for the animals. The mink are domesticated and have never had to find food or water for themselves. Those that don’t return soon will suffer and die painfully.”

Cassia County Sheriff’s Dept. is investigating, as well as the FBI. Crimes committed against mink farming fall under the federal Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, and can result in significant prison time for those convicted.

An anonymous internet post has claimed responsibility for the attack. “Historically, these crimes are committed by a small group of individuals that travel around, state-to-state, terrorizing farmers” stated Michael Whelan, Executive Director of Fur Commission USA, the trade organization representing the U.S. mink farmers. “These aren’t peaceful protesters, these are criminal thugs that blindly follow an anti-ag agenda. They’re felons that are ruining lives. Nothing more.” Fur Commission USA is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction.

Though the anonymous claim does not identify any organization, the FBI considers the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) the number one domestic terror threat in the U.S.

Idaho is the 3rd largest mink producing state in the U.S. The farms create over $40 million in revenue for the state each year, and support thousands of jobs.

Heyburn, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KTWT-TV) - An activist group calling itself the “friends of wildlife” has claimed that they broke into the Moyle Mink Farm near Heyburn in order to “liberate the breeding stock into the wild.” Idaho's First News reports the group, posting an anonymous letter through the online website calling itself Bite Back, said they broke into the facility on the evening of July 28.

The group claims that 2400 animals were released.  Authorities confirm the break-in.  Cassia County Sheriff Jay Heward said that it’s his understanding that the farm owners have been able to round-up about 90-percent of the animals and place them back in their pens.  The investigation into the break-in continues. If you have any information about the incident, please call the sheriff’s office in Burley.