Animal rights activists free 6,000 mink

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The Independent Online
UP TO 6,000 mink swarmed into the New Forest and neighbouring countryside yesterday after animal rights activists set them free from a fur farm, writes Keith Nuthall.

Members of the Animal Liberation Front (Alf) cut through wire fences at Crow Hill farm, near Ringwood, Hampshire, filling nearby gardens with the small black and white predators. Police have warned pet owners to protect their animals as mink are known to hunt poultry, rabbits, guinea pigs and hamsters.

The attack, in the small hours of yesterday morning, came hours after one of the farm's workers, Ian Stroud, pleaded guilty at a magistrates court to cruelty charges relating to mink at Crow Hill and another farm.

Responsibility has been accepted by the Alf, whose press officer Robin Webb told the Independent on Sunday that the activists want to "highlight the fact that the fur trade is still making its disgusting living".

But an RSPCA spokeswoman said: "We condemn this, not only for the sake of the mink, but for the local wildlife. It's utterly irresponsible."

Professor Stephen Harris, of the University of Bristol biology department, said that most of the mink would die from starvation. Those that could kill would take birds nesting on the ground, water voles and pets in insecure cages.