The BC SPCA would like to thank the tens of thousands of British Columbians who spoke out against the suffering of mink on commercial farms in B.C. The BC SPCA has been actively campaigning for the past 17 months for an end to the practice of farmed mink, who are raised and killed solely for pelts sold to support luxury fashion industries overseas.
“Today the provincial government announced a ban on live mink on farms after April 2023, with a full shut-down of the industry in B.C. by 2025,” says Dr. Sara Dubois, the BC SPCA’s chief scientific officer. “A minority of the animals might remain on farms after this winter but will not be permitted to breed.”
Why are we against fur farming?
- Fur farming is inherently inhumane. Small, barren, cramped cages are not appropriate for wild animals, even those born in captivity.
- Financial support of the fur farming industry is unacceptable. In uncertain financial times, the $6.5 million given to mink farms by government funding programs could be better used to support farmers who are providing food for Canadians, rather than supporting fur for international markets.
- It’s irresponsible to allow fur farms to operate during a pandemic. Biosecurity measures have failed and the threat of viral mutations and transmissions from fur farms is an unacceptable risk to public health and wild mink populations. The Public Health Officer even stated in an Order (PDF) restricting animals to current numbers, that mink farming “could undermine the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccination program in British Columbia.”
- Fur farming conflicts with traditional Indigenous values. The Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) has called for phasing out of fur farming in B.C. (PDF)
Mink Farm COVID-19 Crisis Timeline
June 2020 – In wake of COVID-19 outbreaks on European fur farms, BC SPCA warns the Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Health of the risk to B.C. and need for a pandemic plan.
Dec 2020 – First COVID-19 outbreak occurs on a B.C. fur farm.
Dec 2020 – The Fur-Bearers, HSI/Canada, BC SPCA, and infectious disease experts call on B.C. government to end fur farming. 19,155 concerned British Columbians join the BC SPCA in calling for a moratorium on mink farming in British Columbia.
Dec 2020 – COVID-19 outbreak occurs on a second B.C. fur farm, at least 200 mink dead.
Jan 2021 – 1000 mink culled on B.C. fur farm after outbreak.
Jan 2021 – David Suzuki and other scientists call for an end to fur farming in B.C.
March 2021 – Breeding resumes in B.C. despite previous COVID outbreaks.
April 2021 – Union of BC Indian Chiefs calls for a moratorium on fur farming in the province.
April 2021 – Infectious disease experts and B.C. doctors appeal to the Ministry of Health about spillover risks.
May 2021 – Third outbreak of COVID-19 on a mink farm in B.C.
July 2021 – Animal advocates learn more about the fur industry in B.C. during webinar.
July 2021 – BC SPCA and Union of BC Indian Chiefs press the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries and Premier for an update.
July 2021 – Fourth outbreak of COVID-19 on a mink farm in B.C., found via testing of escaped mink. The Public Health Officer places a moratorium on new mink farms (PDF) and the province announces a review of its policies and regulations with respect to fur farms.
August 2021 – Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Farmed Mink extends deadline to move to larger cages.
September 2021 – The BC SPCA formally requests budget allocation from the provincial government to provide a dignified transition for fur farmers and workers to other sectors, leading to a ban on fur farming in B.C.
October 2021 – A group of 29 British Columbian infectious disease specialists send an open letter (PDF) to B.C. Premier John Horgan calling for an end to fur farming.
October 2021 – New provincial petition to ban fur farming in B.C. Sign now!
October 2021 – The Union of BC Indian Chiefs formally endorse a resolution that calls for phasing out of fur farming in B.C. (PDF)
November 2021 – Success! The province announces a phase-out of the mink industry
Kelly Guerin / #MakeFurHistory / We Animals Media