The future of tourism in South West Donegal was dealt a very heavy blow when vandals broke into and released ‘a large number’ of the 33,000 mink being intensively reared in one of the local mink farms located near Ardara. The proportion of the environmental disaster to our wildlife has yet to be clarified by the owners as they are still concentrating on receovering their stock from the mountains over a large area around Killybegs, Kilcar and Glencolmcille. The manager of the farm Mr Con Anderson commended all who are now involved especially angling and gun club members who will be busy recovering the mink for a long time to come judging by the very large scale of the escape. It is now over three days since the escape on last Saturday night and we will begin to see our wildlfie and our salmon in particualr being the food to satisy the hunger of the released mink.
The FISSTA Secretary Noel Carr stated “It is a very serious blow to our rivers and our wild salmon and seatrout in particular. This is an environmental disaster that was waiting to happen since the first break-in at the farm in 2005. At that time protesters (see youtube) took photographs to prove they could have opened the cages at that time. The licenses issued by the Dept of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (DAFF) appear to have overlooked adequate regulation to avoid such incidents, just the same as their regulation in the fish farm industry where high levels of pollution and sealice infestation are permitted. It is a shock to learn of such an incident from the local Donegal Democrat front page. It confirms our worst fears that there is no action plan for capture or for public awareness on how to deal with such invasive animals.
This damaging development eminating from such fur farms will focus on the DAFF to end this industry immediately instead of 2012 when it is to be phased out under Government programme.”