In the majestic countryside of Donegal 5,000 minks are roaming free.

Anderson's Mink Farm, in the northwest of Ireland, had a disastrous weekend. Many of their cages and fences were cut and opened letting an estimated 5,000 mink run free. The other 28,000 on the farm declined the offer of freedom and thankfully stayed put.

Hunters have already captured about 100 of the freed mink although several hundred have already been run over or killed in the wild. Drivers have reported seeing groups of confused looking minks standing on the roads dazed by the headlights of cars.

The agricultural authorities have warned that the surviving minks could decimate local salmon hatcheries, rabbits and fowl.

While animal rights activists in Ireland have denied that they released the animals they are praising whoever did it.