Dear Minister Popham,
Numerous supporters of ours have forwarded the correspondence your office has distributed regarding their concerns about fur farms, the pandemic risks, and a desire to see the industry close. There are a few points of contention that we believe must be updated in these communications, so that the government is acting in a transparent matter.
- You write that ‘all licensed mink farms were inspected as part of a routine process this past fall, and all premises were found to be in compliance with animal welfare and biosecurity standards.’ However, Ministry of Agriculture documents obtained via Freedom of Information requests showed compliance issues. In one communication, it was noted that mink were seen loose on the farm – a violation of biosecurity standards; in another, we learned that a chinchilla fur farm has been operating without an Animal Health Plan in place for potentially a number of years, another violation of the Act. In both these, and other, instances, Ministry staff did not issue written warnings or fines, but made efforts to bring them into compliance. These concerns were forwarded to the Deputy Minister’s office multiple times. To state that ‘all premises were found to be in compliance’ is incorrect.
- Your letter does not include that the Union of BC Indian Chiefs wrote to you, calling on the Ministry to end the practice of fur farming.
- The letter does not include that a dozen prominent infectious disease specialists from British Columbia have called on your office to shut down fur farming due to the public health risks posed.
- You have not disclosed the cost of resources dedicated to the ongoing surveillance, testing/monitoring and biosecurity measures to taxpayers, or whether public health resources are being reallocated from the public to private industry.
Your office is also aware that 85 percent of British Columbians oppose killing animals for their fur, and that you’ve heard from tens of thousands calling for an end to taxpayer funded stability payments to fur farmers and the industry as a whole.
We request that your office issue new correspondence to constituents and other Members that more accurately reflects the realities of the science, public input and discourse regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, animal welfare issues and other concerns surrounding fur farming in British Columbia.