It’s a bittersweet victory for The Fur-Bearers: previously voluntary codes of practice for fur farms are becoming law in British Columbia. This is a significant win as advocates have pushed for this simple step since 2014 – but it doesn’t end the inherently inhumaneness of industrial fur farms.
The Fur-Bearers have petitioned for this change with your support and are pleased that Minister of Agriculture Lana Popham sees a need for the additional protections that should make prosecution of animal cruelty cases on fur farms easier. This will, in theory, reduce the outright cruelty and disturbing conditions documented on fur farms. However, the details of how it will play out remain to be seen.
Until this week the Recommended Codes of Practice for the Care and Handling of Farm Animals in Canada written by the National Farm Animal Care Council (an industry body) were simply recommendations; in most provinces, legislation is not as strongly worded or specific on requirements for care, and as such, violations of provincial laws difficult to prove and prosecute.
While we celebrate this victory and thank Minister Popham for her initiative to establish these tools, mink will continue to suffer (the legislation covers foxes, as well, but there are currently no farmed foxes in BC). Mink in the wild have massive territories, are often solitary, and hunt and play in the water as intelligent, ecologically important animals. But on fur farms they live in small, wire-bottomed cages, often lined up along other mink, without access to running water or the stimulation they enjoy in the wild.
The Fur-Bearers will work with our colleagues in other agencies to determine how to best ensure that these codes do cause change. And, with your help, we will continue to fight until every cage is empty.
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