A mink at a farm, taken on July 9, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Geoff Robins

A mink at a farm, taken on July 9, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Geoff Robins

Quarantined B.C. mink farm resumes breeding after COVID-19 outbreak

Province approves resumption of breeding at Fraser Valley farm, and 8 others not in quarantine

A mink farm that is still quarantined after a COVID-19 outbreak has begun its annual breeding program along with eight other farms in British Columbia.

The Agriculture Ministry said the province’s chief veterinarian, Dr. Rayna Gunvaldsen, has approved the resumption of breeding while the farm remains under quarantine to reduce the risk of the virus spreading.

About 200 mink died late last year at the farm where COVID-19 was detected among employees, and Gunvaldsen has said the animals were likely infected after eight people became ill.

However, a second farm that remains quarantined is not currently breeding stock, the ministry said in a statement Wednesday about the Fraser Valley facility where a breeder decided to euthanize about 1,000 mink in January after three of the animals died.

Staff are in contact with all licensed mink farms to ensure precautions are in place to minimize any transmission of COVID-19 from humans to animals or from animals to humans, it said.

The B.C. chapter of the SPCA has called for a moratorium on mink farming, saying the animals are kept in tightly packed cages where infection spreads quickly and they shouldn’t be killed for clothing.

A non-profit society called The Fur-Bearers has also said it’s time to end the practice of using fur for apparel, especially because the industry is not a big economic driver for the country.

Alan Herscovici of the Canada Breeders Association said years of research has gone into the optimal raising of mink, and animal rights group that have opposed fur farming for years are now using COVID-19 to spread fear against a mostly family-run “artisanal” industry.

“That’s really irresponsible and not true and not fair,” he said from Ste-Agathe-des-Monts, Que.

“This is not a time to be attacking farmers. It’s a time to be supportive. Frankly, it’s offensive. And it’s all happening because of what happened in Denmark,” he said of the world’s largest supplier of mink fur, where at least 15 million mink were culled last year to reduce the spread of COVID-19 from farm to farm.

Canada is known for producing some of the highest-quality mink fur in the world, as is the United States, Herscovici said.

“That’s only done with excellent care for the animals.”

Sixty mink farms across the country established strict precautions last year to restrict visitors, require employees to wear personal protective equipment and tell them not to come to work if they are feeling sick.

“They’ve apparently been very successful because we’ve only had these two farms in all of Canada where COVID was brought to the animals and the animals were infected,” Herscovici said.

Four mink farms also experienced outbreaks in separate U.S. states, and all of them followed similar procedures, he added.

The National Farm Animal Care Council develops codes of practice, the same for other livestock, he said, and provincial governments license and inspect the farms.

Most of Canada’s mink farms are in Ontario and Nova Scotia.

AgricultureFarming

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

Just Posted

Prince Rupert City Council approved the purchase of computer chipped recycling bins on April 12. A Penticton garbage truck lifts a new bin. (Western News photo)
Big Brother to help with the garbage – computer chipped recycling bins report your bylaw infractions

They report, but will they sort — recycle bins to cost Prince Rupert $564,850

Pembina Prince Rupert Terminal celebrated the opening of operations on April 12 in a virtual online ceremony with President and CEO Mick Dilger and Manager of Communications and Media Affair Tasha Cadotte commemorating the ribbon-cutting. (Photo: Supplied)
Pembina celebrates opening of operations in Prince Rupert

A virtual ribbon-cutting ceremony commemorates LPG export facility on Watson Island

Pembina Prince Rupert Terminal shipped its first vessel full of liquefied petroleum gas on April 9, just less than three years after breaking ground at the re-purposed pulp mill site on Watson Island.
Pembina ships first vessel of LPG out of Prince Rupert

More than $12 million spent to repurpose Watson Island for the LPG export facility

Seventy-two cases of COVID-19 are reported for the week of March 28 to April 3 on the map of Graphic Distribution by Local Health Area of Case Residence for Epi-week 13. (image: BCCDC)
Cases increase to 5 in Acropolis Manor’s 2nd outbreak

Prince Rupert Regional Hospital Patient Care unit outbreak is now 4 and includes a staff member

Prince Rupert Fire Rescue attend an apartment fire on the morning of April 11 in a building at 521 Fulton Str. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Sunday morning fire rouses tenants

Prince Rupert Fire Rescue attended an apartment fire at 521 Fulton St.

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has restricted indoor dining at all restaurants in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 indoor dining, drinking ban extending into May

Restaurant association says patio rules to be clarified

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
Tougher COVID-19 restrictions in B.C., including travel, still ‘on the table’: Horgan

John Horgan says travel restrictions will be discussed Wednesday by the provincial cabinet

Protesters occupied a road leading to Fairy Creek Watershed near Port Renfrew. (Submitted photo)
B.C. First Nation says logging activist interference not welcome at Fairy Creek

Vancouver Island’s Pacheedaht concerned about increasing polarization over forestry activities

Flow Academy is not accepting membership applications from anybody who has received a dose of the vaccine, according to a password-protected membership application form. (Submitted image)
B.C. martial arts gym refusing patrons who have been vaccinated, wear masks

Interior Health has already issued a ticket to Flow Academy for non-compliance with public health orders

Guinevere, lovingly referred to by Jackee Sullivan and her family as Gwenny, is in need of a gynecological surgery. The family is raising money to help offset the cost of the procedure. (Jackee Sullivan/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Langley lizard’s owners raise funds for gynecological surgery

The young reptile is scheduled for operation on Tuesday

Facebook screenshot of the sea lion on Holberg Road. (Greg Clarke Facebook video)
VIDEO: Sea lion randomly spotted on remote B.C. logging road

Greg Clarke was driving home on the Holberg Road April 12, when he saw a large sea lion.

Defence counsel for the accused entered two not guilty pleas by phone to Grand Forks Provincial Court Tuesday, Jan. 12. File photo
B.C. seafood company owner fined $25K for eating receipt, obstructing DFO inspection

Richmond company Tenshi Seafood is facing $75,000 in fines as decided March 4 by a provincial court judge

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson speaks in the B.C. legislature, March 2, 2021. (Hansard TV)
B.C. NDP ministers defend ‘air tax,’ latest COVID-19 business aid

Empty home tax doesn’t apply to businesses, but space above them

In Ontario, COVID-19 vaccine clinics have been set up at local mosques. (Submitted photo: Rufaida Mohammed)
Getting the vaccine does not break your fast, says Muslim COVID-19 task force

Muslim community ‘strongly’ encouraging people to get their shot, whether or not during Ramadan

Most Read