The Provincial Health Officer has stated mink farming is an activity that endangers public health.
While countries around the world continue to ban fur farms given their public health risks and inherent cruelty on farms, shockingly, there are still 9 mink farms and one chinchilla farm in the province.
Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s Provincial Health Officer, just announced a new order placing a moratorium on any new mink farms in B.C. and capping existing mink farms at their current numbers.
Unfortunately, this order comes a little late since mink were bred earlier in the year and kits (babies) were born from April to June – now tens of thousands of mink are susceptible to the virus. With each mink having an average of five to six kits, the number of mink on fur farms in our province has already ballooned dangerously.
With biosecurity measures failing again and again, and with four outbreaks on three farms despite apparent mitigation measures, the province has now said they are conducting a review of policies and regulations around fur farms.
According to the Public Health Officer, “the susceptibility of mink to infection with SARS-CoV-2 creates a risk of development of variants of concern which pose a threat to public health and could undermine the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccination program in British Columbia.” As long as mink are raised in confined unnatural settings, they will be a risk to our communities. The only solution is closing down farms.
The latest positive minks were trapped on the farm after escaping their cages. The taxpayer cost of ongoing monitoring of staff and animals on fur farms is an unreported cost of the pandemic. Between 2014-2020, fur farms in B.C. received $6.5 million from a provincial and federal government program called AgriStability. This was discovered in an FOI received after the B.C. Government advised the BC SPCA that they wouldn’t be restricting mink farming during the pandemic, and breeding was allowed to restart earlier this year. Supporting this grave public health risk during a pandemic, when 85% of British Columbians already oppose killing animals for their fur, is unacceptable.
Mink farms receive government funding through AgriStability which works like insurance against income declines on farms. That means government funding was given to mink farmers when mink pelt prices fell – supporting a dying international industry. The program is available to all farms (except cannabis), but the BC SPCA argues funding should be directed to farmers who contribute to our food security rather than farmers who export luxury products. Farmers who receive a payment from AgriStability can receive much more than their program fees, even after participating for several years. This is money that could have gone to other farmers or even other government initiatives.
In the wake of a fourth outbreak of COVID-19 on a mink fur farm it’s clear that the biosecurity measures put in place by the B.C. Government have failed to contain the risk of COVID-19 outbreaks on mink farms, and they pose a real risk to public health.
Your voice is needed to prevent animal suffering and protect us all from potential new viral mutations.
Tell the B.C. Government to act now to end 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 in unacceptable. In uncertain financial times, AgriStability funds 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.
1. Share on Social Media:
Let your friends and family know that their governments are funding fur farming that poses a grave public health risk and causes animal suffering. Call on your friends to contact their MLA’s and the Ministry of Agriculture.
2. Call your MLA
Ask them to push Cabinet to stop ban fur farming. The status quo is not ok!
3. Email the Minister of Agriculture
State your strong opposition to inhumane and dangerous fur farming in B.C.
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 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 – Learn more about the fur industry in B.C. in a free 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. The Public Health Officer places a moratorium on new mink farms and the province announces a review of its policies and regulations with respect to fur farms.