In two countries, Ireland and Sweden, thousands and thousands of minks escaped impending death at mink farms after being released into the wilds. Five thousand minks were set free in Ireland. Of those, more than 100 were captured in traps set by hunters. Associated Press reported that hundreds more were hit by vehicles on nearby busy roads in County Donegal. (Source.) Connie Anderson, a director at Ireland's Anderson's Mink Farm, believes the minks were set free by animal rights activists. As Anderson put it: "These people are animal liberation terrorists and had no thought for the mink or the damage that will be done to other wildlife in the area." Bernie Wright of Ireland's Alliance for Animal Rights shot back:
We have nothing to do with it. However, I commend whoever risked their freedom to do this as these animals have a horrendous life.
An even greater number of minks escaped in Sweden - 17,000 in total - from a farm in Skillingaryd in the southern part of the country. News reports mention something about a busted lock on the cage. (Source.) The minks were valued at $1.2 million U.S. As was the case in Ireland, nobody's taking credit for the freed minks in Sweden. There had been demonstrations outside of the breeding farm earlier in the year, but Swedish animal rights groups aren't fessing up.
Critics of the animal rights movement will probably not miss this opportunity assail the "irresponsibility" of militants in liberating these animals (although it's still unclear that activists had anything to do with these mass releases). No doubt they'll thunder on, self-righteously, about how awful it is to let minks run free. But, whether you approve of these tactics or not, there is no denying that these minks have been given a second chance. And whatever happens to them out in the big, wide, and sometimes dangerous world, one thing is certain: They won't be turned into fur coats for vain and inhumane human beings who can easily find other ways of keeping warm.