This is the truth behind mink hunting – a small animal hurled in the air to be ripped apart by dogs. The Sunday Mirror exposes the shocking truth of this little-known bloodsport.
An anti-hunt campaigner captured these horrifying pictures of mink being savaged by a pack of hunting dogs.
Three are tracked down and killed by 15 hunters and 24 dogs over eight hours. During the chase an otter – protected by law – swims away as the hunt tramples on its riverside home. One mink is chased across land and into water before climbing a tree. It is then shot and thrown still alive, investigators claim, to the dogs.
The other two animals, believed to be cubs, are dug out of their nest by hunters before being fed to the dogs. Mink hunting is legal but animal welfare charities and anti-bloodsport groups say it is unnecessary and cruel, and that the dogs also endanger otters living in similar habitats.
But pro-hunt groups argue the “sport” helps preserve wildlife because mink eat other small mammals. The investigator infiltrated West Wales Mink Hounds to film the hunt. He said: “I was horrified. It can’t be justified as an form of pest control.”
He attended 10 hunts posing as a supporter and was invited to the hunt he filmed in Carmarthenshire. About 20 hunts in England and Wales kill up to 1,400 mink annually. Meanwhile, the number of mink has fallen in recent years from around 110,000 to 39,000.
Mike Hobday of the League Against Cruel Sports attacked mink-hunting as “nasty and chaotic”. But Clive Roberts, joint master of the West Wales Mink Hounds, insisted mink hunting is one of the most “controlled” forms of hunting.
He said every effort was made to preserve other forms of wildlife and he insisted: “No quarry is ever given to the hounds alive.