We Brits like to think of ourselves as a nation of animal lovers, and consequently most people may initially be very concerned at the prospect of substantial numbers of a furry, intelligent mammal being killed in a project like this. Everyone involved in the WRT project is passionate about animals, too, and none of us enjoys taking a life. So what is going on here? Why the apparent contradiction?
The answer is that, with American mink well established in our countryside, something is going to die. If we collectively decide to sit on our hands and do nothing, millions of native creatures will be killed by American mink every year in Britain, in perpetuity. And of course every individual American mink will die in due course, anyway – most of them in a traumatic way due to illness or disease. The alternative is that the American mink are trapped and humanely dispatched, thereby saving the lives of the countless fish, amphibians, water voles, kingfishers, sand martins, lapwings etc that would otherwise end up as a mink meal.
The choice is ours – all of us. Doing nothing condemns to death millions of native creatures, and that’s not something that many of us wish to have on our conscience. Instead, because we have the ability to make a difference, we choose to do so. Faced with the terrible consequence of not acting, we believe that most people in this country, when in possession of the facts, would make the same choice that we have.