Setting the Fur Flying 7,500 Mink Escape from Farm

Around 7,500 mink have escaped from a German fur farm. Authorities are warning local residents not to go near the marauding mustelids, who may be hungry and dangerous, while soldiers are trying to catch the varmints with nets.

Authorities in Germany are trying to re-capture thousands of mink who have escaped from a fur farm. The mink stole away after unknown criminals opened a large number of cages and destroyed fences at a fur farm in the early hours of Friday morning, police reported Friday.

The authorities first suspected that up to 17,000 mink had escaped from the farm, which is near the village of Grabow in the eastern German state of Saxony-Anhalt. However authorities had revised the figure down to 7,500 by Friday afternoon.

Dozens of helpers, including some 20 soldiers with the German Army, were trying to capture the runaway mustelids on Friday with the help of nets, while local hunters had the escapees in their sights.

There is speculation that animal rights activists, who have repeatedly criticized fur farms as cruel, may be behind the incident. However, police admit they have little evidence to go on and are making no statements as to possible perpetrators.

Local authorities have told car drivers to watch out for runaway mink crossing the road and warned residents to keep an eye on their pets. Experts caution that the minks may be hungry and aggressive as the domesticated animals are not able to fend for themselves in the wild.

"Farm minks are used to being around people and appear to be friendly, particularly when they are hungry," read a statement on the local authority's Web site Friday. "But they still have their defensive instincts and will bite if they are touched." The statement adds, however, that the animals are healthy and "do not have rabies."

In a similar and possibly related incident, around 5,000 mink were released from a fur farm in Denmark in the early hours of Monday morning.



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