Animal Liberation Front tried to free birds

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ADAIR VILLAGE, Ore. — The Animal Liberation Front has claimed responsibility for cutting open bird pens at the E.E. Wilson Wildlife Area in an effort to free pheasants and quail.

The activist group said in a post on its website that masked liberators "carried out the rescue" Aug. 15. The state Department of Fish and Wildlife, which manages the pens, said no birds escaped.

Two of the damaged pens had been empty, the agency said, and the birds held in the other damaged pens remained in their enclosures.

The Animal Liberation Front said wire cutting tools were used to open the pens, giving three ring-necked pheasants, one white pheasant and one mountain quail a chance to escape into the wild.

"If it wasn't for a car pulling into a lot next the pens, forcing us to make a premature departure, the rest of the dozen or so birds would have been given a chance at freedom as well," the group wrote. "This action is no victory for those left behind."

Tracy Thompson, a wildlife area associate, said the birds who live there are either pen-raised or have been injured in the wild.

"They would have less than a 5 percent chance of surviving outside the pens in the wild," she told the Corvallis Gazette-Times.

The number and types of birds kept at E.E. Wilson fluctuate, but the agency has cared for pheasants, quail, chukars and turkeys, and usually has about 15 birds, Thompson said.

An FBI agent from the Eugene office checked in with local investigators as a courtesy to let them know of the Animal Liberation Front's acknowledgement of responsibility, Capt. Greg Ridler of the Benton County Sheriff's Office said. No arrests have been made.

Damage to the wire enclosures was estimated at $50.


Information from: Gazette-Times, http://www.gtconnect.com