A mink sniffs the air as he surveys the river beach in search of food, in meadow near the village of Khatenchitsy, 65 kilometres northwest of Minsk, Belarus on September 4, 2015. The Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) is the latest group to speak out against mink farming in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Sergei Grits

A mink sniffs the air as he surveys the river beach in search of food, in meadow near the village of Khatenchitsy, 65 kilometres northwest of Minsk, Belarus on September 4, 2015. The Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) is the latest group to speak out against mink farming in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Sergei Grits

Union of BC Indian Chiefs latest group to call for moratorium on B.C. mink farming

With other countries phasing out mink farming, time is now for province to follow suit, says union VP

The Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) is the latest group to speak out against mink farming in the province.

It joins the BC SPCA and other advocates calling for a moratorium on B.C. industrial mink ranches to end the farming of wild animals for luxury products.

Mink farming has been making headlines since December 2020 when COVID-19 made its way to two farms in the Fraser Valley, including one in Chilliwack, over the course of a few weeks. During that month, more than 200 mink died at the Chilliwack location and at least 23 at the second Fraser Valley farm. An additional 1,000 were euthanized as a precaution.

“UBCIC supports the ethical harvesting of fur for cultural and ceremonial purposes, and for purposes that align with Indigenous ways and respect values of conservation and stewardship,” said Grand Chief Stewart Philip, UBCIC president. “However, UBCIC does not condone the industrial breeding, confinement and slaughtering of minks for international luxury markets especially as, notwithstanding the current public health risks, mink farms have long been implicated in cruel and inhumane fur farming practices that have led to unacceptable animal welfare outcomes.”

Just two days after the Dec. 6, 2020 COVID-19 outbreak that was declared at the first mink ranch, Pamela Anderson penned a letter to B.C. Premier John Horgan asking him close down fur farms in British Columbia.

READ MORE: Pamela Anderson calls on Horgan to ban fur farming after COVID-19 outbreak at mink farm

Later that same month, the BC SPCA called for a moratorium through an immediate suspension of all mink farm licenses.

“For the BC SPCA there are two issues,” said Geoff Urton, spokesperson for the BC SPCA. “The first is the ongoing suffering caused by keeping wild animals in tiny wire cages. The second is the continued risk to people and animals in our communities amid a pandemic.”

READ MORE: BC SPCA calls for moratorium after minks, workers at farm contract COVID

In January, several prominent environmentalists and experts, including David Suzuki, spoke out against mink farms in a letter to two B.C. ministers.

READ MORE: David Suzuki, experts pen letter bashing B.C. mink farms’ role in COVID spread

There are 13 mink ranches in B.C., almost all of which are in the Fraser Valley.

“With many countries having banned fur farming altogether, and with COVID-19 leading countries like the Netherlands and France to accelerate their phasing out of mink farms, the time is now for the province to follow suit and issue a moratorium on mink farming, including immediately suspending breeding programs at all 13 mink farms in B.C.,” said Chief Don Tom, UBCIC vice president.

In 2018, more than 260,000 mink were killed for fur in B.C., despite 85 per cent of British Columbians opposing such a practice, Tom added.

“UBCIC calls upon the province to consider the long-term viability and impacts of industrial fur farming.”

READ MORE: COVID-19 outbreak declared at Chilliwack mink ranch

READ MORE: COVID-19 has made its way to second B.C. mink farm, no workers sick


 

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on?
Email: jenna.hauck@theprogress.com
Twitter: @PhotoJennalism

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CoronavirusFarming

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Welcome to your park sign marks the spot where 84th Avenue will continue east from King George Boulevard to 140th Street as part of a $13 million road project. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Road Rage: Opposition mounts anew to Surrey’s plan for 84 Ave. south of Bear Creek Park

Same place, same project, same fight as Surrey prepares once again to connect 84th Avenue between King George and 140th Street in Newton

The Surrey Board of Trade has launched a new ‘Say Yes to the Vaccine’ campaign. (File photo)
Surrey Board of Trade launches campaign to promote COVID-19 vaccination

Vaccinations are the only solution to re-opening the econony, says board

The volume of visitors to White Rock’s Marine Drive over the weekend has led council to consider special measures this week. (Aaron Hinks photo)
White Rock council rejects resident-only parking for waterfront

Other health and safety measures to be considered in a special meeting Wednesday

South Surrey’s Paul Cottrell, who works with the DFO, tows a grey whale out of Semiahmoo Bay Sunday. (Contributed photo)
Dead whale floating near White Rock towed to shore for necropsy

Animal has been dead since at least April 15

Vehicles line up for the Greater Vancouver Drive-Thru Food Truck Festival at the Chilliwack Coliseum parking lot on March 27. The touring event comes to Cloverdale this weekend, April 24-25 (Photo: Jenna Hauck/Chilliwack Progress)
Here are the food trucks coming to Cloverdale for a drive-thru festival this weekend

Nine trucks will be parked Saturday, nine Sunday during event at fairgrounds

FILE – NDP Leader John Horgan, right, and local candidate Mike Farnworth greet one another with an elbow bump during a campaign stop in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday, September 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. won’t be using random individual road stops to enforce travel rules: Safety Minister

Minister Mike Farnworth says travel checks only being considered at major highway junctions, ferry ports

..
Abbotsford nurse at ‘breaking point’ pleads with public to take COVID-19 seriously

Instagram post urges general population to stay home, wear a mask and get vaccinated

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A native-to-B.C. wild queen bee (bombus melanopygus for those in the know) feeds on a periwinkle flower. (Submitted/Sarah Johnson, Native Bee Society of BC)
B.C.’s wild bees need messy gardens to survive

The year-long nesting period makes habitat a primary concern for wild bees

Westbound Highway 1 traffic near Herrling Island is backed up a long way following a vehicle incident. (Photo/Trish Dunbar)
Pedestrian killed in crash near Agassiz

Woman in her 50s struck by moving van

FILE – Health-care workers wave to people clapping and yelling thank you to the frontline workers during the 7 p.m.-tribute outside the Lions Gate Hospital in North Vancouver, B.C. Wednesday, April 8, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. nurses issue plea for all to follow health orders as hospitalizations spike

Nurses worried about strain COVID-19 is having on hospital capacity, care

University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams is photographed in the stands during the Greater Victoria Invitational at CARSA Performance Gym at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, November 29, 2019. The University of Victoria says Williams has resigned effective immediately. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
University of Victoria women’s rowing coach resigns by mutual agreement

Lawsuit filed last summer accused Barney Williams of verbal abuse

Former B.C. premier Christy Clark. (Black Press Media files)
Former B.C. premier to testify at money laundering hearing today

Attorney General David Eby has been added to the witness list as well

Most Read