25 September 1998

Vicious mink release raises wildlife fears

THE release of thousands of mink from a fur farm in Staffs last week has been condemned by farming organisations and government ministers.

Following close on the heels of a similar incident in the south-east just weeks ago, animal rights activists have again claimed responsibility.

Despite MAFFs efforts to recapture the escapees, there are fears that local wildlife and pets could be in danger.

"The mink is a vicious and accomplished killer and many native species of birds and small mammals have little defence against it," said Andrew Shirley, regional surveyor with the Country Landowners Association.

Junior farm minister Elliot Morley denounced the deliberate release of farmed mink as irresponsible, cruel and of no help to the governments efforts to outlaw mink farming. &#42