Canadian photojournalism organization We Animals Media has published new photos of Finnish fur farms taken by Oikeutta elaimille. The photos, taken in the summer of 2023, reveal the horrific conditions of mink and foxes on Finnish fur farms, poor biosecurity measures, and workers seen with rifles outside fox cages, where fox cubs were being killed en masse.
The Finnish government ordered culls of mink and foxes after numerous outbreaks of H5N1 (avian flu) on Finnish fur farms. This week, the government announced it will inspect all fur farms in the country (approximately 400 farms) for avian flu.
The mass killing of fur farmed animals may shock the public, but these animals are killed every year for their pelts by the fur industry, all for luxury fashion products that no one needs.
View a selection of the photos in the gallery below. To see all photos, visit We Animals Media for the full collection. While these photos are taken on Finnish fur farms, they depict the conditions of fur farms in many countries, including Canada, where foxes and mink are confined in small wire cages in exposed open sheds.
GRAPHIC WARNING: Some of the images are graphic and show dead animals and animals in distress.
Avian flu mutation found on Finnish mink farms
In addition to the widespread culls in the country, it was reported this week that avian flu has mutated and detected on five Finnish mink farms. The YLE article reports that the Finnish food authority says the mutation makes the virus more transmissible among animals, but not humans. However, the public health risk remains, as H5N1 has ‘pandemic potential’ and the spread of HPAI (highly pathogenic avian influenza) on mink and fox farms in Finland and Spain is concerning scientists around the world.
CFIA not conducting surveillance for avian flu on Canadian fur farms
The Fur-Bearers received confirmation from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) this week that there is no federal surveillance for HPAI on fur farms in Canada. This is despite the public health risks known to fur farming and the spread of H5N1 on mink and fox farms in Europe.
Working with infectious disease specialists, The Fur-Bearers sounded the alarm about fur farms in 2020 prior to the SARS-CoV-2 outbreaks on mink farms in British Columbia. We exposed the poor biosecurity practices of the fur farm sector in British Columbia which may have contributed to the numerous COVID-19 outbreaks on BC mink farms, before the province shut the industry down due to its public health risks.
With the spread of avian flu in chicken factory farms and wildlife across Canada, and knowing about the poor practices of the Canadian fur farm sector like feeding raw poultry to mink, we are again sounding the alarm on the risks that the Canadian fur farm sector poses to the public. The National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC) industry guidelines for farmed mink and farmed foxes do not include any mention of pandemic prevention measures. In the absence of fur farming pandemic prevention measures, any federal surveillance, and the spread of avian flu in Canada, Canada’s fur farm sector is a ticking time bomb.
The Fur-Bearers published a report this year that highlights the public health risks of fur farming and calls for a transition away from the practice. Help us distribute this report by sending it to your MP and calling for a transition away from fur farming in Canada!