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

Twin falls in Yoho National Park. Yoho is one of the mountain parks whose draft management plan is now available for review. (Claire Palmer photo)
Local input sought to shape future of mountain national parks

Banff, Yoho, Kootenay, Mount Revelstoke and Glacier national parks are amongst those seeking input

The city has decided to apply to have the Jordan River area withdrawn from Crown Land disposition, which would put the decision on how the land is used and protected in the hands of the city. (File photo)
City of Revelstoke applying to withdraw Jordan River from Crown Land

At the moment the province has control over what is developed in the area

(Natalia Cuevas-Huaico - Kelowna Capital News)
Titanic was the largest and most luxurious ship in the world. Photo provided and colourized by Jiri Ferdinand.
QUIZ: How much do you know about the world’s most famous shipwreck?

Titanic sank 109 years ago today, after hitting an iceberg

In a feature article published April 10, 2021 in The Times of London, ‘headlined British Columbia has what it takes to rival Napa Valley,’ the valley is praised extensively for its natural beauty and wine. (File photo)
From the U.K. with love: Okanagan wine, scenery receives international praise

The Times of London newspaper recently featured the valley in a wine and travel piece

Arlene Howe holds up a picture of her son, Steven, at a memorial event for drug overdose victims and their families at Kelowna’s Rotary Beach Park on April 14. Steven died of an overdose at the age of 32 on Jan. 31, 2015. (Aaron Hemens - Kelowna Capital News)
Moms Stop the Harm members placed crosses Wednesday morning, April 14, on Rotary Beach in memory of children lost to drug overdoses. (Aaron Hemens - Capital News)
Kelowna mothers remember children lost to the opioid crisis

It has been five years since illicit drug deaths was announced a public health emergency

A still from the video taken of a violent arrest on May 30, 2020 in downtown Kelowna. (File)
Kelowna Mountie charged with assault for caught-on-camera violent arrest

Const. Siggy Pietrzak was filmed punching a suspected impaired driver at least 10 times during an arrest

Missy MacKintosh, founder of MisMacK Clean Cosmetics, smiles broadly beneath her mask as she is thrilled to have opened her new storefront location at 231 Alexander St. in Salmon Arm on April 10, 2021. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)
Downtown Salmon Arm store ‘a dream come true’ for clean cosmetics owner

Missy MacKintosh’s MisMack Clean Cosmetics moves from home basement to storefront

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

(Pexels photo)
Okanagan film boom owes to industry’s strong pandemic response: Sandhu

Vernon-Monashee MLA Harwinder Sandhu lauded the local film industry’s adaptation to the pandemic

A member of the Oliver Fire Department works on the wildfire near the Cottages at Osoyoos Lake on Tuesday night. The fire is believed to have been caused by a human. (Oliver Fire Department Facebook)
UPDATE: Osoyoos wildfire believed to be human-caused

The Oliver Fire department also responded to another fire along the hike and bike trail on Saturday

(Amandalina Letterio - Capital News)
Kelowna demonstrators show support for Vancouver Island logging activists

Two Kelowna men stood atop a pedestrian bridge on Harvey Avenue to raise awareness about old-growth forests

desert hills estate winery grapes
Osoyoos winery back in business after clean bill of health

Desert Hills chose to temporarily close after a close contact tested positive for COVID

A screenshot from a Nuu-chah-nulth healing song and performance created in collaboration between Hjalmer Wenstob and Timmy Masso. (Screenshot from YouTube)
WATCH: Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation brothers produce COVID-19 healing song

Hjalmer Wenstob and Timmy Masso share dance and inspiration.

Most Read