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

Stz’uminus Elder George Harris, Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone, and Stz’uminus Chief Roxanne Harris opened the ceremony. (Cole Schisler photo)
Red dresses to be hung from Ladysmith to Oyster Bay, showing solidarity against racism

Leaders from Stz’uminus First Nation and the Town of Ladysmith hung new dresses on Sat. April 17

Volunteers tend to White Rock’s waterfront native plant demonstration garden, during a work party Saturday (May 5). (Contributed photo)
Ready your gardens, the pollinators are coming

By R. Quinlan With the arrival of Spring, this year has more… Continue reading

Bruce Whittington making a founding gift to the Ladysmith Community Foundation Fund, presented to then Nanaimo Foundation Board Chair, Ted Carson. (Submitted photo)
New Ladysmith Community Fund set up to support local charities

The fund will be managed by the Nanaimo Foundation and all funds will remain in Ladysmith

B.C. Centre for Disease Control maps showing new COVID-19 cases by local health area for the week of April 4-10. (BCCDC image)
Parksville-Qualicum passes Nanaimo in new COVID-19 cases

Greater Victoria had more new cases than any other Island area: B.C. Centre for Disease Control

‘For Sale’ signs quickly turned to ‘Sold’ signs as record-high demand for housing meets record-low inventory. (Cole Schisler photo)
Multiple offers and unconditional sales rampant in Ladysmith housing market

Vancouver Island Real Estate Board Zone 3 director Susan Perrey says the market is ‘crazy all around’

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Lord Tweedsmuir’s Tremmel States-Jones jumps a player and the goal line to score a touchdown against the Kelowna Owls in 2019. The face of high school football, along with a majority of other high school sports, could significantly change if a new governance proposal is passed at the B.C. School Sports AGM May 1. (Malin Jordan)
Power struggle: New governance model proposed for B.C. high school sports

Most commissions are against the new model, but B.C. School Sports (BCSS) and its board is in favour

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control has listed Harbour Air and Air Canada flights to and from Nanaimo, from April 3, 4 and 12, on its list of flights with COVID-19. (News Bulletin file)
COVID-19 cases reported for Nanaimo flights, says disease control centre

Nanaimo flights for April 3, 4 and 12 listed on BCCDC’s list of flights with COVID-19

Russ Ball (left) and some of the team show off the specimen after they were able to remove it Friday. Photo supplied
Courtenay fossil hunter finds ancient turtle on local river

The specimen will now make its home at the Royal BC Museum

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

B.C. homeowners are being urged to take steps to prepare for the possibility of a flood by moving equipment and other assets to higher ground. (J.R. Rardon)
‘Entire province faces risk’: B.C. citizens urged to prepare for above-average spring flooding

Larger-than-normal melting snowpack poses a threat to the province as warmer weather touches down

Vancouver-based Doubleview Gold Corp. is developing claims in an area north of Telegraph Creek that occupies an important place in Tahltan oral histories, said Chad Norman Day, president of the Tahltan Central Government. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO)
B.C. Indigenous nation opposes mineral exploration in culturally sensitive area

There’s “no way” the Tahltan would ever support a mine there, says Chad Norman Day, president of its central government

A Western toadlet crosses the centre line of Elk View Road in Chilliwack on Aug. 26, 2010. A tunnel underneath the road has since been installed to help them migrate cross the road. Saturday, April 24 is Save the Frogs Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress File)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 18 to 24

Save the Frogs Day, Love Your Thighs Day and Scream Day are all coming up this week

Local carpenter Tyler Bohn embarked on a quest to create the East Sooke Treehouse, after seeing people build similar structures on a Discovery Channel show. (East Sooke Treehouse Facebook photo)
PHOTOS: B.C. carpenter builds fort inspired by TV’s ‘Treehouse Masters’

The whimsical structure features a wooden walking path, a loft, kitchen – and is now listed on Airbnb

Most Read