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Animal rights activist Nicole Kissane was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison today (January 17) for participating in a cross-country spree freeing mink from fur farms.

Her fellow activist, Joseph Buddenberg, was sentenced to two years in prison in May of last year. The two vandalized homes and businesses with acid, glue, and chemicals as they let the mink escape. She is to pay $423,477 in restitution. He is to pay $398,272.

Federal judge Larry A. Burns described Kissane's activity as a "calculated, premeditated reign of terror over those in the fur industry." Kissane and Buddenberg were charged under the Conspiracy to to Violate the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act.

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Visduh Jan. 17, 2017 @ 9:43 p.m.

And somehow, with a felony conviction on her record, she'll be able to pay a nearly half-million dollar restitution? Well, maybe if we have hyper-inflation and she lives to be 150, it might happen. But who will pursue collection?

My take is that this sentence insures her life is ruined, and that she'll never prosper or even have a decent living.

Argue all the humanitarian considerations you want, but is it worth it to put yourself in jail to keep some minks from slaughter? Regardless of your attitude toward furs, it might be worth noting that one of the major considerations of Thomas Jefferson, when he dispatched his Corps of Discovery (Lewis and Clark Expedition) into the Louisiana Territory was to assess the fur trade. Actually that trade had little to do with the development of the huge land mass, but as recently as about 200 years ago, smart and thoughtful people saw furs as a really big deal.

Education and (lack of) real necessity can wean the public from wearing furs, mink in particular.

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Don Bauder Jan. 18, 2017 @ 10:31 a.m.

Visduh: Back in Jefferson's day, many people wore fur coats to stay warm. They weren't show pieces, as they are today.

Yes, neither she nor her co-conspirator can be expected to pay the restitution. I wonder what percentage of criminals pay the court assessments, and what percentage of those who lose civil suits pay the judgments they are assessed. That would make an interesting study. I'll bet one could make a good estimate from publicly available documents. Best, Don Bauder

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AlexClarke Jan. 19, 2017 @ 7:53 a.m.

My bet is that a very small, small percentage are able to pay any restitution. Only someone with deep pockets would ever be able to pay any restitution. Most felons who return to society live on welfare or exist on low wage jobs. Few felons ever attain the income level that would allow them to pay the restitution ordered by the court.

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Don Bauder Jan. 19, 2017 @ 3:24 p.m.

AlexClarke: I agree. Few getting out of prison can make such payments. If a very rich person gets out of prison and is hit with a big restitution, the cupboard may also be bare: the crook has stashed money in offshore tax and secrecy havens, and isn't about to bring it back. Best, Don Bauder

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shirleyberan Jan. 18, 2017 @ 8:01 a.m.

Need better laws for safe treatment of animals but the message is damaged when the "rescue" includes vandalism of property. Wonder what happens to the minks after the great escape, new home community in the woods? My guess is starvation.

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Don Bauder Jan. 18, 2017 @ 10:38 a.m.

shirleyberan: You raise a good point. Can mink raised in captivity survive in the wild? I wonder, even though mink are supposed to be resourceful.

We have had problems with swarms of chipmunks. So we began trapping them and dumping them in the woods about 50 acres from our house. One naturalist told us that the chipmunks would not survive when moved to a new location, even if it is similar to their original location, and not that far away. Best, Don Bauder

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Flapper Jan. 19, 2017 @ 3:49 p.m.

I remember a study, right there in the Rockies, where a biologist marked some wild mice from one area and dropped them off miles away, across some mountains. I don't remember the exact amount of time they returned to their home range, but it was amazingly short. Granted, they were not raised in captivity, but it would be interesting to learn whether or not the mink showed up back at the farm or adapted to the places where they were "freed." Minks are voracious, so should be able to make a living anywhere that could be considered mink habitat. Too bad the do-gooders were biologically ignorant. Too bad they added vandalism (revenge) to their "crime."

If there was any justice, we, as cultural beings, would rot in hell for the way we mistreat our fellow animals. Wearing fur out of necessity is one thing; wearing it to trump the Joneses is another.

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Don Bauder Jan. 20, 2017 @ 7:54 p.m.

Flapper: Since writing the original item here, I have heard of wild rodents who were transported long distances (miles) from their habitats and found their way back. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 18, 2017 @ 10:40 a.m.

Debra Kuzma: I very seldom see people wearing mink coats these days. Best, Don Bauder

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shirleyberan Jan. 18, 2017 @ 6:06 p.m.

Wiki - life expectancy of a captive mink is 8 years. An average maximum for American mink is 10 years. There is a European mink and there was a now extinct Sea mink. Family of...

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Don Bauder Jan. 18, 2017 @ 6:35 p.m.

shirleyberan: That's good information, but do we know the life expectancy of mink that were born and raised in captivity, then released into the wilds? Best, Don Bauder

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swell Jan. 18, 2017 @ 8:16 p.m.

I worked on a mink ranch in 1960. The animals were treated as badly as modern chickens, locked in tiny cages their whole life. They were vicious and we learned to keep our fingers away. By 'vicious' I mean insane, just as we would be living under those circumstances. Sad because they were beautiful, and I suspect intelligent.

But, wow, that fur feels really soft and luxurious; and you could get lost in the depth of color.

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Don Bauder Jan. 19, 2017 @ 3:28 p.m.

swell: I suspect you realize the fur is soft and luxurious from stroking a fur coat -- not from sticking your finger near an insane mink. Best, Don Bauder

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shirleyberan Jan. 19, 2017 @ 8:33 a.m.

Horrible treatment. Glad they have a chance to develop survival skills back to wild.

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Don Bauder Jan. 19, 2017 @ 3:29 p.m.

shirleyberan: I don't think we have yet determined how a mink in captivity does when being released into the wild. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 20, 2017 @ 7:57 p.m.

shirleyberan: The evidence thus far suggests this may be true, but we still need more information. Best, Don Bauder

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shirleyberan Jan. 19, 2017 @ 8:57 a.m.

Survival Instincts. And those barbarian breeders should let the cows, pigs and chickens loose. Plant food. Sick about puppy mills. Humans are disgusting animals.

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Don Bauder Jan. 19, 2017 @ 3:33 p.m.

shirleyberan: The cows are, generally, free to move about.They roam on hundreds of acres; they have fences around them, but plenty of room to roam.Best, Don Bauder

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Flapper Jan. 19, 2017 @ 3:59 p.m.

We should sustainably manage free wild animals and our consumption rates for food rather than enslave them. We are, like bears, omnivores.

But we have even more mindlessly slaughtered wild plants and ecosystems on the altar of cultivation. With few exceptions, this species has surrendered its birthright for a mess of excess. Aye, there's the rub!

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Don Bauder Jan. 20, 2017 @ 8:01 p.m.

Flapper: Man has destroyed ecosystems (think the Amazons) for the purpose of cultivation. But would you rather have us eat meat, thereby killing animals, than eat things like wheat? We have to eat something. Best, Don Bauder

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shirleyberan Jan. 20, 2017 @ 9:09 a.m.

Was claimed to be a God-given right to exploit the hell out of earth and animals.

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Don Bauder Jan. 20, 2017 @ 8:03 p.m.

shirleyberan: You are leaving out other critical dimensions. Did we have a God-given right to destroy American Indians? Best, Don Bauder

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Flapper Jan. 20, 2017 @ 8:56 p.m.

Re: Don Bauder Jan. 20, 2017 @ 8:01 p.m.

"Flapper: Man has destroyed ecosystems (think the Amazons) for the purpose of cultivation. But would you rather have us eat meat, thereby killing animals, than eat things like wheat? We have to eat something. Best, Don Bauder

The indigenous peoples sustainably managed (along with wolves, cougars, bears, and other carnivores) millions of bisons that concentrated the prairie grasses into protein. "Our" ancestors (some of mine, but not all) turned the prairie into a dustbowl to grow wheat and other monocultural crops to fatten cattle and other domesticated (enslaved) animals and make simple carbohydrate "bread," both of which lead to heart attacks. Bison and other wild and free animals' protein/carbohydrate ratios are in inverse proportion to those of the enslaved animals who lead tortured lives at our hands until we grind them up for "burgers." We then slather our "wonder-buns" with an insipid mayonnaise concoction laced with high-fructose corn syrup, a slice of tasteless GMO'd lettuce and hardened-for-shipping tomatoes, filling our brains with prions and god-knows-what other contaminants, which we gobble up with gusto in great quantities.

The rest of the corn we make into "renewable" (my ass!) fuel. Dumb-down food so we can have our intelligence insulted without much of a whimper. (Today, for example.)

Lean protein (four ounces will do) from our wild brother animals (to whom we give thanks for their contribution to our part of the ecological cycle) will be sufficient, and if we pare our limitless consumption down to a healthy minimum, we could do it.

But we won't. That doesn't make it other than what it is. Unbridled EXCESS.

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Don Bauder Jan. 23, 2017 @ 7:50 a.m.

Flapper: Good points. We have despoiled much of this earth -- our natural heritage. Best, Don Bauder

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shirleyberan Jan. 21, 2017 @ 9:22 a.m.

No understanding human on human blood bath either. Can't help thinking Kissane and Buddenberg might have received lighter sentences if they hadn't gone all Bonnie and Clyde with acid and chemicals. Could have just watched the scampering of happy little feet. Not doing any animal good from prison. Will likely never have another dime for a good cause. Excess is why a majority of us are so fat-ass.

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Don Bauder Jan. 23, 2017 @ 7:52 a.m.

shirleyberan: But they probably needed acid and chemicals to carry out their scheme. Best, Don Bauder

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Flapper Jan. 22, 2017 @ 4:35 p.m.

There's plenty of self-righteousness to go around, especially at the extremes.

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Don Bauder Jan. 23, 2017 @ 7:53 a.m.

Flapper: You can read plenty of self-righteousness right here on this blog. Best,Don Bauder

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