Thursday, September 17, 1998 Published at 20:09 GMT 21:09 UK
Activists release 8,000 mink
Once recaptured the mink are returned to the farm
Mink farmer Len Kelsall, 60, has slammed those responsible as "terrorists", saying that he was "utterly devastated" by the release which occurred shortly before 6am.
The remainder escaped into the countryside and attempts are being made to catch them.
Mr Kelsall, standing by a supermarket trolley full of carcasses recovered from surrounding roads and fields, said: "This is not animal rights, this is animal cruelty.
The mink are farmed for sale on the Russian fur market where they fetch £15 per pelt.
The distraught farmer said: "I've had this farm for 40 years and I have asked these people to come in to see the farm and see how the animals are kept.
"We would advise the public to avoid the area at all costs."
The animals are causing chaos on the roads around the farm.
RSPCA condemn 'foolhardy' release
The RSPCA is assisting in the operation to round up the animals. Its spokesman said the release was "extremely foolhardy".
He said both the escaped animals and the surrounding wildlife would suffer as a result.
"They are also effective predators and this could be catastrophic for the local wildlife. Especially vulnerable is the water vole, whose numbers have fallen drastically over the last few years."
In August about 7,000 mink were released in to the New Forest following two attacks on Crow Hill farm near Ringwood, Hampshire.
The animals killed pets and even attacked a fisherman. Thousands were recaptured but many were shot by desperate landowners.
Police are liaising over the two incidents.