Action Alert: Comment on changes to the Fur Farm Regulation

A marten sitting on a tree branch (Getty Images / Matt Gibson)

The Government of British Columbia announced on November 5, 2021 that it will phase out mink farming in BC. The phase out is planned as follows:

  • A permanent mink breeding ban is effective immediately
  • A permanent ban on live mink by April 2023
  • All mink farms must cease all operations by 2025
With the announcement to prohibit mink farming in BC, the government is asking British Columbians to provide comments on this decision and amendments to the Fur Farm Regulation, the legislation that governs fur farming in the province. Click here to view the regulations.
 
There is an open question of whether other species of animals listed in the regulations will still be allowed to be farmed for their fur. Other than mink, the animals that are listed in the regulations are chinchillas, fishers, foxes, martens, and nutria. Currently, there are nine mink farms operating in BC and one chinchilla farm.
 
Although the government took the necessary measures to reduce the public health risks of mink farming, officials haven’t provided a risk assessment to demonstrate that intensively farming other wild animals won’t lead to the same public health threats as mink farming. Nor have they addressed the animal welfare concerns of breeding and confining wild animals for their fur.
 

The World Health Organization published a risk assessment and identified Canada has having a “very likely” likelihood of introduction and spread of SARS-CoV-2 within fur farms, and a “likely” likelihood of transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus from fur farms to susceptible wildlife populations.

The government needs to take a precautionary approach that is consistent with its prohibition on mink farming and disallow any new fur farm applications.

We commend the government for taking action on mink farming, but more needs to be done so that new fur farms aren’t opened up in British Columbia or that the hundreds of thousands of mink cages in BC won’t be filled with an entirely new species of animal.

Take Action!

Submit feedback to the Ministry of Agriculture to share your thoughts about the prohibition on mink farming and changes to the Fur Farm Regulation. The email for comments from the public is FurFarmRegulationAmendments@gov.bc.ca. For background on the phase-out and more information, read this goverment bulletin.

The deadline for comments is Monday November 15, 2021.

Some points that can be included in your email:

  • Acknowledging the work and thanking the ministry for taking action to prohibit mink farming.
  • The Ministry of Agriculture should not accept any more applications for new fur farms and decline existing applications if there are any.
  • The government should extend the prohibition on mink farming to all species.
  • There are no provincial animal care standards or NFACC Codes of Practice developed for the intensive farming of fishers, chinchillas, martens, or nutria.
  • Nutria are native to South America and are listed by the BC government as a “high risk” prohibited species. Allowing nutria to be kept on commercial fur farms risks these non-native animals escaping from fur farms and establishing themsleves in BC’s natural environment. Nutria are semi-aquatic animals and their natural habitats are marshes, wetlands, and other aquatic environments. Acquiring these animals from other countries will also contribute to the inhumane global wildlife trade and risks spreading dangerous pathogens across international borders.
  • Fishers, martens, and foxes are all wild animals who make their home in British Columbia’s natural spaces. These animals should remain wild and free, not confined in small wire cages on industrial fur farms.
  • There is one chinchilla farm in British Columbia. Like the mink farms, the government should support this farm in transitioning to other sustainable industries.
  • Fur farming is opposed by the majority of the public. A 2020 public opinion poll found that 85% of British Columbians are opposed to killing animals for their fur.
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