Ireland Hunting Down Thousands of Escaped Minks

DUBLIN-- The roads and rivers of northwest Ireland are suddenly lined with mink.

Managers at Anderson's Mink Farm said Wednesday that many of their cages and fences were cut and opened over the weekend, freeing an estimated 5,000 animals into the wilds of County Donegal. About 28,000 others declined to bolt for freedom.

More than 100 already have been recaptured by hunters using cage traps, while several hundred have been run over and killed. Drivers have reported seeing groups of the farm-reared animals standing, dazzled by headlights, in the middle of busy roads.

Agricultural authorities warn that the surviving minks could decimate local salmon hatcheries, rabbits and fowl.

Animal rights activists in Ireland have denied responsibility -- but are praising whoever did it.