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Tuesday, August 18, 1998 Published at 15:51 GMT 16:51 UK


Activists warn of more mink releases

The ALF will continue its campaign

Animal rights activists have warned of further attacks on fur farms after the release of 6,000 voracious mink last week.

The Animal Liberation Front, which admitted freeing the predators in Hampshire, said it would continue its campaign against the fur industry to force new animal welfare legislation.

About 1,400 mink remain at large, threatening the survival of native birds and endangered species in the New Forest and surrounding area unless they can be captured or exterminated.

Killers to be eliminated

Countryside and wildlife agencies have agreed a new strategy to eliminate the vicious killers after another 400 animals were released when raiders cut the perimeter fence at Crow Hill Farm, Ringwood, Hants, on Saturday.

The ALF said renewed action was likely due to the government's "failure" to introduce legislation banning fur farming.

Labour has said it would shut down Britain's 15 mink farms by 2001.

[ image: 1,400 mink are still free]
1,400 mink are still free
ALF spokesman Robin Webb said: "The Labour Party made promises before the election which our members supported - they actively went out and canvassed for Labour.

"To the bitter disappointment of activists, it has now become clear that this legislation is not forthcoming.

"It leads to suspicion and distrust of Parliament and the certain escalation of extra-parliamentary activity."

The spokesman added the release of mink last week was "not the first time" the animals had been freed by the ALF.

He denied that it was involved in the second release on Saturday.

Mr Webb added: "Extra-parliamentary activity, both legal and illegal, is regrettable because, for one thing, people are risking their freedom.

"But we will continue this action as long as necessary."

Threats condemned

The RSPCA, which also wants to outlaw fur farming, condemned the ALF threats, saying they were setting back the campaign for a ban.

Spokeswoman Julia Briggs said: "As a law-abiding organisation we utterly condemn these actions.

"As an animal welfare organisation we would also condemn these actions because they are not in the interests of the mink or wildlife.

"In releasing the mink the ALF is stalling the procedure to eliminate fur farming within the next three years."

The organisations who have the job of tackling the mink invasion will concentrate their cull on a two-mile area surrounding the farm, while also running a 24-hour mink-watch hotline.

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