Mink hunts operate during the summer months. The hunting of mink replaced the hunting of otters when the latter became a legally protected species over 30 years ago.
Despite the fact that it is now illegal to hunt mink, mink hunts continue to take their hounds along rivers and streams, crashing through the water, damaging banks and sensitive habitats.
The mink hunts claim they are now hunting rats, a claim many dismiss as ludicrous. Rats quickly disappear into holes when hunted, and are completely inappropriate as a quarry for a pack of hounds.
Claims have been made of mink hunts killing otters, which are now re-colonising river banks and re-establishing in healthy numbers. The otters displace the mink, and mink numbers are now falling.
Otters and their resting places are fully protected, and it is an offence to deliberately kill them, or destroy or obstruct their resting places. It is also an offence to disturb otters in their breeding or resting places.
It is hard to see how a noisy invasion of people and packs of hounds could fail to cause such a disturbance.
The hunting of mink is in any case extremely cruel, and illegal under the Hunting Act. Monitors and hunt sabs who attend mink hunts report no discernible difference in the mink hunters' activities since the ban came into force.