Moments ago, Minister of Agriculture Lana Popham announced that the province of British Columbia will be phasing out mink farming with an absolute closure of all operations and pelt sales by 2025.
In a news announcement, Popham noted that, “This decision follows the recommendations of public health officials and infectious disease experts about managing the threat of the virus for workers at the farms and the broader public.”
Dr. Bonnie Henry, Provincial Health Officer for BC, noted that at least one outbreak (of at least three) on a mink farm has been unable to come under control.
The Fur-Bearers has advocated for such a change for over a year, since the threat of COVID-19 on fur farms worldwide became apparent. Tens of thousands of residents voiced their demand for change.
News from the province indicates the steps of the phase out will include a permanent ban on breeding mink, a permanent ban on live mink on farms by April 2023, and all operations ceasing completely, with all pelts sold, by 2025.
“Public health has been monitoring and managing outbreaks related to mink farming along with the Ministry of Agriculture and WorkSafeBC, but as this remains an ongoing public health issue, we believe the risk is too great for operations to continue as they were,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer. “Public health supports government’s decision to take this action at this time for the safety of the broader population.”
This is a significant day for tens of thousands of mink being kept and killed for their pelts, and shows that the threats created by fur farming are being acknowledged by government. In a media comment, Dr. Henry stated the decision is focused on health, not animal welfare.
However, it is important to note this decision keeps mink on farms for over a year, and does not include all species that can legally be farmed for fur in BC. The Fur-Bearers will be seeking more information on this and other information as it becomes available.
We thank everyone for taking time to contact their MLAs and we will update our action items in the near future.