The Decline of Fur Farming in Canada
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Canada’s Fur Industry
According to a recent poll from The Fur-Bearers, 74% of Canadians support the proposed national ban on fur farming (Bill C-247). As with a growing number of nations, people are calling on their government to pass a ban on this farming practice for a variety of reasons, most notably for animal welfare and public health concerns. In 2019 we went to Canada’s east coast to document how the government there had been supporting this industry over the interests and desires of its residents.
Watch our film on Canadian fur farms
Fur Farming Practices
They employ very few people and often exist on government subsidies. The environmental cost is high: runoff from mink farms can cause blue-green algae to bloom in nearby waterways, polluting them irreparably and sickening other wildlife and humans.
Fur farming is also, of course, of detriment to the animals themselves. Minks are solitary carnivorous animals, spending up to 60% of their time in water. On farms, cages meet legal minimum welfare standards of on average 1 foot x 1 foot x 3 feet. Females are impregnated and give birth twice a year with litters of up to ten kits, who grow quickly and further crowd the cage, which can lead to stress and cannibalism. Minks raised for fur are killed either by gassing or electrocution.
In addition to the environmental and animal welfare issues related with this industry, risk to public health is of growing concern. In 2020, the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) infected minks, endangering animals, farm workers and the general public due to the risk of virus mutation. As a result, countries in Scandinavia, Europe and North America culled farmed minks; by the end of 2020, Denmark became a mass grave to an estimated 17 million minks.
Making Fur History in Canada
Images by Jo-Anne McArthur.
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