Help Devon Hunt Sabs sabotage mink hunts this summer!
What do hunters do in the summer months to satiate their bloodlust? They go mink hunting, a post-1978 rebrand of otter hunting which had been banned to protect the dwindling British otter population. Otters are now listed by CITES and are on the 2000 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species but thankfully their numbers are bouncing back in many parts of the country. They were previously maligned for threatening stocks of game fish such as trout. 20th century scientific studies proved that this status was unjustified and that otters were actually beneficial for trout because they opportunistically prey on abundant species of fish which compete with trout for river resources.
Hunters are always on the lookout for reasons to justify their 'sport', which often centre around the predatory characteristics of their chosen quarry. Foxes are evil because they kill chickens and the occasional lamb. Otters are "villainous vermon" because they eat fish to survive. Never mind the fact that some humans eat chickens, lambs and fish themselves... Anthropomorphism is convenient when you want to bestow their actions with moral qualities but less convenient when you want to deny that animals suffer and that their suffering matters. It won't surprise you then that the main justification hunters use for hunting mink is that they are a 'pest'. Ignore the threat posed by a pack of hounds tearing through the river and rioting on whatever animals reside there, including otters, beavers and waterfowl! Another fact that hunters conveniently ignore is that this non-native species established itself along British rivers by the middle of the 20th century after escaping from fur farms. NOT, as the hunting fraternity want you to believe, after a few mass releases in the 90s. Animal rights activists did not bring mink into this country.
Myths and misconceptions aside, the fact is that mink hunting was made illegal with the Hunting Act but it still goes on because of a lack of enforcement. Mink hunts make no pretense of hunting a trail but when challenged claim to be taking hounds on a jolly walk along the river. If that were the case then they wouldn't need to bring terriermen equipped with spades to dig out mink that have taken refuge in the riverbank or poles to shake them out of trees. They also presumably wouldn't mind if their 'walk' was monitored from time to time!
There are several mink hunts in South West England, all hunting multiple times a week during the spring and summer months. Please support our fuel fundraiser so that we can sabotage them and protect our vulnerable river wildlife.