Mink farmers and breeders in British Columbia are condemning the provincial government’s decision to shut down their operations by April 2023, including the mandate that all pelts harvested should have already been sold by 2025.
BC officials decided to shut down mink farming operations after data showed that SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic, can grow and develop in mink populations. Hence, the risk that these animals may become carriers of the virus and potentially pass it on to humans.
Moreover, BC officials also highlighted the fact that there is a possibility that the virus harbored by the animals may mutate and jeopardize the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines rolled out by the federal government across the country.
According to a statement released by the Canada Mink Breeders Association (CMBA), the BC government’s decision was “over-exaggerated,” and their industry was targeted unfairly. The CMBA also stressed that it believes the said decision was brought on by extreme pressure from animal rights lobbyists and not by the COVID-19 angle.
Rob Bollert, the president of CMBA, pointed out that the provincial government’s decision regarding the closure of mink farms will be “devastating” for mink farmers and breeders and their respective families. “It takes generations of work, including excellent nutrition and care to develop the quality of mink that Canada is famous for,” he emphasized. “And these bureaucrats are destroying all that effort.”
The provincial government of BC issued the mink farm closure directive after discovering that three out of nine farms had animals testing positive for COVID-19. In addition, some employees and staff of the said farms also tested positive for the virus.
While Bollert acknowledged that some mink farms had animals testing positive for the COVID-19 virus, he stressed that only about 5% of the total 60 farms were affected.