The Case Against Ontario Fur Farms
Overview of fur farming in Ontario:
There are 40 fur farms in Ontario. The majority of which are mink farms and some fox, rabbit, and chinchilla farm operations to a lesser degree.
Animals are housed in small wire cages and restricted from performing mandatory natural behaviours such as swimming and boroughing (mink are semi-aquatic animals and spend 60% of their time in water in nature). This restriction in addition to extended periods of inactivity causes frustration, boredom, deformities, distress and results in abnormal repetitive behaviour such as self mutilation, pacing, cage biting, and other stereotypicacies. Causing animals to be in a state of distress is a violation of the OSPCA Act. This form of captivity essentially inflicts physical and psychological trauma and is considered cruel by many countries.
Farming animals for fur has been occurring for only roughly 100 years. Unlike other farmed animals mink and fox remain undomesticated and do not possess traits like docility and fear humans. These fur bearing species genotypes are unsuitable for farming.
Animals are killed inhumanely by electrocution or suffocation.
Failure to enforce basic animal welfare practices:
Fur Farms Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. F.37 was repealed in 1997 and replaced by the NFACC (National Farm Animal Care Council) codes of practice to ensure animal welfare standards across the industry.
No government inspections of fur farms in past 6 years.
Recent probe into the Ontario fur farm industry has shown basic NFACC codes are not being enforced. Violations of the codes are outlined in this attached complaint sent to the OSPCA. Shocking animal neglect witnessed during the investigation included animals food being mixed with urine and feces, sludge puddles of animals liquid waste emitting poisonous ammonia gas, cages filled with feces, animals being fed rotten old food, injuries, and dead animals. Similar treatment lead to the conviction of Quebec Fur Farmer Jean Luc Rodier in 2017 on animal cruelty charges. Video footage of the investigation/probe can be viewed at www.endfurfarming.com
OSPCA has a history of not responding to complaints made against fur farms and appears to only be acting on this recent complaint due to prolific media coverage
Industry has responded by promising third party inspections but have not implemented any programs yet. There is concern that continued self regulation by industry will continue to put animals at risk. Currently there is virtually no incentive for caregivers to adhere to the codes of practice under the current system.
Fur Farm Bans
The killing of animals for clothing decorations such as fur trim remains controversial and is an ethical question that has been debated by governments worldwide. It is recognized that animals basic needs cannot be met in current housing systems on fur farms. Many countries continue to ban the practice due to animal welfare concerns while other countries have implemented defacto-bans by requiring housing enclosures that ensure animal welfare which make fur farming unprofitable.
Countries that have fur farm bans: Austria, Croatia, Norway, United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Belgium, Hungary, Slovenia, Bosnia, Macedonia, Serbia, Denmark, Netherlands.
Countries that have phased out fur farming due to stricter regulations: Sweden, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Japan.
New Zealand and India both have fur trade bans. Sao Paulo, West Hollywood, Berkley, and San Francisco have bans on the selling of fur.
Fur Factory Farmers are often offered a phase out period prior to implementation of a ban to give them an opportunity to switch to other forms of livelihood and income
The report “The Case Against Fur Factory Farming - A Scientific Review of Animal Welfare and Welfur” goes into detail about the inherent problems with fur farming and lists evidence that animals in the fur trade cannot be farmed humanely.
Government, OSPCA, and the fur farm industry have failed to uphold and enforce basic minimum standards of care and ensure animal welfare on Ontario fur farms. Even if the NFACC codes of care were adhered to, animals would still suffer physical and psychological trauma from this form of captivity due to their species genotype not being suitable for farming and the failure of current housing systems to meet animals basic needs.
2/3rds of Canadians already support a ban on fur farming and 95% demand better animal protection laws. Many clothing designers and retailers have fur-free policies due to ethical concerns surrounding the killing of animals solely for decoration.
Although the fur farm industry does create some income for the economy, it can be affirmed that this income is derived from the mistreatment of animals. This industry operates in contradiction to the values of Ontarians who care profoundly that animals be treated with dignity and respect and abhor their suffering especially for frivolous matters.
Farming and killing animals for their fur is shown to be inhumane, unethical, and not supported by the majority of Ontarians. For these reasons a ban on fur farming in Ontario should be considered.