There is no such thing as animal-friendly fur in fashion. Animals must die when we use fur to make or decorate jackets, boots, hats and gloves.
Fur in fashion
The BC SPCA is opposed to killing animals for clothing or other aesthetic purposes (PDF) given that animals are subjected to cruel deaths and, when raised in captivity, experience inhumane lives.
Trappers often use legal leg hold traps or snares, and even their “humane trapping” methods allow animals to suffer for up to 72 hours on trap lines before they are checked. Fur farming is inherently inhumane, as wild animals are bred and stocked as products in captivity.
In B.C., coyotes, rabbits, raccoons, mink, beaver, foxes and many other animals are killed for their fur. Some fur products imported and sold in Canada may even be made from cats or dogs.
Labelling fur items is not required in Canada. This means clothing, toys, keychains or other items could be real fur without you knowing. There is no guarantee that “faux” fur coats do not contain real fur.
Fur farming in B.C.
Wild animals can be farmed for their fur under the Animal Health Act and the Fur Farm Regulation.
In 2014, 18 licenses were issued for mink farming in B.C. Almost all mink farms are in the Fraser Valley, and they can house more than 70,000 mink at breeding season.
The mink are born in spring and raised in winter before they are killed on-site at the farm. The furs are shipped to an auction house where they are graded and sold, often to international markets. Mink oil is also harvested and commonly used as leather conditioner.
Farmed mink are the same as wild mink, but they have been selectively bred over 150 years for certain colours and traits (size, fur quality, temperament). Farmed mink keep their wild nature and instincts, and can become naturalized if they escape to the wild.
The BC SPCA does not encourage releasing farmed mink into the wild. Farmed mink in B.C. carry Aleutian virus, which may harm wild mink populations. The released animals can upset the natural ecosystem and most will not survive.
Codes of practice for mink farming
The BC SPCA is opposed to mink farming, but we do recognize this is a legal industry. Until the fur industry no longer exists, we expect all farms to meet the Canadian Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Farmed Mink (PDF).
Although the Canada Mink Breeders Associate suggests all members follow this minimum standard, there is no required monitoring in place, nor is this standard required by law in B.C.
The BC SPCA and the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies advocate for all animal industries to implement codes of practice and incorporate these standards into law. Animal protection laws in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Newfoundland, New Brunswick and PEI have adopted the national codes of practice for farm animals as the minimum acceptable standard.