Possibly they were being wantonly stupid, but more likely the "activists" of the so-called Animal Liberation Front were simply ignorant about the potential consequences when they released thousands of mink from captivity and into the English countryside.
Nature is an uncomplicated business, after all, as viewed from the supper tables of Islington; small furry animals look cute, and even cuter in the wild.
How ironic that in the name of animal rights, the ALF should have unleashed a threat to all wildlife across many square miles of countryside, one which might spread for years to come, before it can be contained.
That natural order, which they claim to defend, might never be restored to some areas. The bunny-huggers' militant wing have been shamed by their own naivety.
Of course the animal rights movement, from hunt saboteurs to the wreckers of breeding farms and research stations, is predominantly a middle-class activity and, more to the point, one which commands most of its support from urban dwellers.
To some of its followers, it has become the new style of terrorism. So many of the ALF appeared ready to condone criminal activity, even violence, that Special Branch police officers and MI5 have been assigned to monitor their activities, since the early 1990s.
One of their leaders, jailed last year for his part in a series of firebomb attacks on stores selling cosmetics which offended the ALF code, was told by the judge: "This was urban terrorism for a particular cause, by which you put communities in fear."
A matter of a few months ago, Scotland Yard revealed that it had learned of a plot by militants to infiltrate demonstrations and to throw acid-filled eggs at leading politicians, which could blind and scar in a matter of seconds.
Human suffering, needless to say, is of little concern to the ALF. Its supporters would pride themselves on putting the welfare of animals above all else - medical research, human weleing and safety all are inferior to animal rights.
The weekend's escapade, and the resulting mayhem, are the consequence of misguided philosophy. Many a reasonable person, in fact, would abhor the working of mink farms anywhere in Britain, since we are a society which has largely taken the decision - vol untarily, and not by coercion or the threat of violence - that the wearing of animal fur is no longer acceptable.
In other countries, in particular those where the winter brings a daily battle against the elements, such as Canada and Scandinavia, the trade in furs still thrives, simply because there is no synthetic alternative which is adequate for the conditions. …