After animal activists once again unleashed a horde of carnivorous mink on the Ontario countryside, the Canadian Mink Breeders Association has put up a staggering $100,000 reward to rein in the “extremists.”
“These criminals don’t think that people have a right to use animals, fine, but these are domesticated animals that have been raised on farms for more than 100 generations,” said mink farmer Kirk Rankin in a Tuesday statement announcing the six figure reward to catch the “cruel and irresponsible” persons responsible.
“They cannot fend for themselves in the wild, so most will die,” he added.
On the night of April 29, unknown animal activists released 500 mink by cutting holes into barns at a County of Brant fur farm.
According to a statement sent to Kitchener CTV, a group calling itself The Willow Pond Mink Freedom Movement claimed responsibility.
“Seeing these animals touch the grass for the first time every gave us an indescribable feelings of joy,” they told the station.
The Brant release is only the latest act of vandalism to hit a Canadian fur farm. Last summer, approximately 9,000 minks were released during three separate attacks on Southern Ontario fur farms.
Despite claims by animal extremists that freed mink are “able to survive in the wild without difficulty,” mink releases have a penchant to unleash carnage.
A close relative of the weasel, minks are fast, sharp-toothed carnivores famous for their ferocity in the wild. As is well known among poultry farmers, a single mink can be enough to wipe out an entire chicken coop in a minutes long orgy of bloodlust.
Thus, as a rule, whenever thousands of mink are spontaneously set loose in unfamiliar environments, they have a tendency to rip apart anything in their path.
In 2013, the illegal release of 500 mink from an Aldergrove, B.C. fur farm resulted in the slaughter of ducklings at neighbouring poultry farms.
“I came down one morning to let them out and they were just slaughtered,” farmer Jae Woodlock told Postmedia at the time.
And in a typical mink calling card, the ducks were not eaten. “They bite their necks, they suck the blood and then they’re on to the next,” said Woodlock’s sister Sander.
Freed mink have even been known to attack humans.
In 1998, British man John Stone was fishing on the banks of the River Avon when he was suddenly set upon by some of the 6,000 mink released from a nearby fur farm.
“Suddenly these dark shapes sprang out of the bushes nearby and jumped on me,” he told the BBC.
“They were running over my legs, my feet and trying to climb on my seat … I was screaming.”
In the case of the recent Brant County release, farmers contend that many of the mink would not have survived the night for the simple reason that the animals were too young —some born only days before.
In an infamous 2003 release of 10,000 mink near Seattle, many of the animals were killed within minutes after they sprinted towards a nearby highway — and quickly made the road slick with squashed mink.
“We feed them from motorized carts,” said an owner of the Washington State farm that had been targeted. “They have been conditioned to associate the sound of a motor with food.”
May 3, 2016 2:44 PM ET