Farmer promotes ferret frequency: Andrew Brown tunes in to an animal 'evangelist' at Cheshire's Game Fair

ROBIN LUDLOW is an evangelist, with blazing eyes, a gingery beard, and a very white smile. What he preaches is the good news about ferrets.

'They want love and affection. They need meat, not bread and milk,' he told a sympathetic audience at the Game Fair in Tabley Park, Cheshire.

Mr Ludlow, who farms 300 acres (120 hectares) in the Chilterns, was helping out at the stand of the National Ferret Welfare Society, a body which claims 900 members, some from Sweden and America, where ferrets have been raised for their fur.

He grew agitated at the thought of the cruelties inflicted on ferrets in the past, when they were kept in small cages, or had their canine teeth broken off to prevent them from settling down to a snack in the rabbit warrens.

'There's an answer to that now]' he cried, and produced a ferret detector from a cardboard box. It is a sort of modified baby alarm. The ferret wears a collar round its neck which contains a small radio transmitter powered by a hearing-aid battery.

The owner has a radio receiver tuned to the ferret frequency: if the animal vanishes underground, he just walks to where the signal is strongest, and then digs straight down until he finds it.

Mr Ludlow has kept ferrets himself for more than 20 years. At the moment, he has three of his own, and several more which had been rescued by the RSPCA after their owners abandoned them.

Mr Ludlow's ferrets are used for rabbit control: the technique has not changed since the Romans brought ferrets to this country to help manage the rabbits they had themselves introduced. The rabbit is chased into a purse net, where it traps itself until killed.

'How long', Mr Ludlow asked, 'is the hair on the back of a wild rabbit?' Various people gave their best guesses. 'No]' he replied: 'about four seconds, until it realises its mistake and apologises - ha ha ha ha. I told you ferreters had more fun than people who practise the other country sports.'

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Project Manager - Birmingham - up to £40,000 - 12 month FTC

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Manager - Birmingham - ...

SThree: Recruitment Consultant - IT

£25000 - £30000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: Sthree are looking fo...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin (based in London)

£20000 - £25000 per annum + commission: SThree: Real Staffing's Pharmaceutical...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before