“In Scotland, there’s been an American Invasion – but it’s not exactly what it sounds like.”
And so began a story on National Public Radio on Scotland being “overrun” by American Minks. Yes. Our minks have overtaken Scotland and the Scots will have none of it. In fact, they have one goal – to kill them all. You read that correctly – all of them.
These minks, exported to the United Kingdom at some point in the 1950’s have been able to breed like rabbits. But unlike rabbits, it turns out that minks are pretty vicious creatures (maybe so they won’t be made into fur coats) and they are killing off small mammals called voles. I did not remember this until the NPR segment, but a vole is the beloved main character in the children’s book “Wind in the Willows” by Kenneth Grahame, a Scottish novelist. To kill off voles is an act of war as they are part of every childs imagination and every adults memory.
A volunteer army has risen in Scotland to fight this war and they will not stop until they have achieved their aim of ridding the country of these pests of American variety. As in any war, there are those who are against the activity and they too were interviewed saying in effect “It’s not the minks fault!”
The humor with which NPR developed and reported this story is not to be missed, as they subtly linked it to the common consensus on the world stage that our invasions, whether mink or human, are not as welcome as we may surmise. Along with that is their ability in the midst of crisis, when my brain and empathy quotient are heavy with fatigue from events playing out across the globe, to bring us a story light and humorous in comparison. I have to catch myself and my tendency to consider it a sign of disrespect to not follow every detail of a crisis, rushing to the television, radio or whatever source of media I have to make sure that I haven’t missed anything substantive. With this story, I recognized how grateful I was to be able to listen and laugh guilt free, not feeling as though I was being disloyal to a subject or a cause. I had a moment of panic thinking “Even our minks are overbearing and ethnocentric…!” But that passed and I was able to enjoy the story. As a human I have limited ability to continue effectively in my present surroundings if glued to events of which I have no control. It does not mean I should, or will, stop caring, watching, reading or listening to the news. But taking a small break to think about a volunteer army of Scots waging war on minks of American descent is a perfectly acceptable diversion.
The end of the story? To quote directly from NPR “… this war seems to have no end. Once scientists clear the minks out of Scotland, they plan to drive the American invaders out of the whole of Britain.” and with that I’ll say Happy Friday!