It goes without saying that no compassionate Canadian politician would stand by if dogs were forced into these conditions; yet through inaction and complacency, they have accepted this as the reality for millions of fox and mink every year.
Mink in the wild have a home range of 5km2, spend 60 per cent of their time in the water and refuse to allow other mink into their territory. On these factory-style fur farms, they are confined to cages that have a floor area of two shoe boxes. They have no access to water for recreation, exercise or hunting. They are lined up, thousands by thousands until they are eventually killed and their skin removed.
These conditions go against the very nature of these creatures, and as a result, injuries and maladies are common, including broken bones, broken teeth, internal bleeding, severe infections and more – all accepted by industry as they do not damage the fur. Due to the confined quarters, other behaviours that are abnormal appear, including cannibalism.
Numerous animal welfare scientific experts, including Drs. Marc Bekoff, Sherri Cox and Debi Zimmerman, have offered commentary on this footage. Dr. Zimmerman’s comments included this statement:
“This footage clearly shows that Canadian farmed fox and mink can and do suffer significantly in numerous ways. The current standards inadequately address animal welfare by denying opportunities for the expression of natural behaviors by fox and mink. The idea that welfare is related to naturalness is implicit in the scientific approach to using animal biology in understanding and evaluating animal welfare. That being said, we need to consider if there will ever be a way to accommodate an essentially wild animal’s natural biology sufficiently to be ethical and humane. Several European countries have found the answer to this question to be No, and have banned fur farming altogether.”
The only standards in place for the fur farm industry are not there to protect the animals; they are in place to protect the pelts. Legislation that does exist is weak and not proactively enforced due to government cutbacks and a lack of political will.
The Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals is reminding the public that the best way to stop this kind of inherently inhumane practice is to say no to fur. Though most fur-bearing animals killed for their skin in Canada are exported overseas, we can still make a difference as informed consumers. In fact, according to polling conducted by Insights West, 63 per cent of Canadians do not own fur; of those who do, 49 per cent were purchased 6 to 10 years or longer ago and less than half of Canadians believe fur is morally acceptable.
We have also launched a new awareness campaign in conjunction with LUSH Cosmetics and the Montreal SPCA, focused on Making Fur History. Those who believe that mink and fox should not be kept in these deplorable conditions and that no fur-bearing animal should be killed for their skin can visit MakeFurHistory.com to sign petitions, send letters, learn the truth about the fur industry and take a pledge to MakeFurHistory.
Together, Canadians can end this inherently inhumane industry. Together, we can Make Fur History.
If you want to support this campaign, please visit MakeFurHistory.com and take action. You can also donate to The Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals or become a member so we are able to continue working on important campaigns like this.