We were disappointed to read your recent series on fur farms in Eastern Canada. Your article focused entirely on fur farming industry rhetoric, and offered no space for the thousands of taxpaying residents who have been opposing these farms for years, watching the value of their homes shrink and their local environments suffer.
You did not speak to the experts who have rung alarm bells on the water pollution and disease spreading rampant around these communities. And, perhaps most importantly, you did not acknowledge the lives of the fur-bearing animals used by this industry.
Mink have a natural territory of up to 2,500 acres. Despite this, they spend their short, miserable lives trapped in tiny wire cages stacked together in long sheds, where they eat, sleep, urinate and defecate. Their movement is so severely restricted (the average mink has less floor space than two sheets of paper), they are unable to run, hunt, hide or socialize. Studies have shown that because mink are semi-aquatic, they suffer greatly when denied access to water.
Mink routinely develop severe physical and psychological conditions, including deformed limbs, depression and acute anxiety. Death comes (at only seven months of age, when their "pelts" are ready for "harvesting") in the form of gassing or neck-breaking.
The fur industry routinely claims that it is in the best interest of the farmers to treat their animals humanely, as it is integral to the "quality" of the fur. But "high quality" fur has never been shown to reflect on the health or well-being of a farmed animal - only that they were killed shortly after their first winter coat arrives, at about seven months of age.
There are no laws regulating the keeping, handling or killing of cage-raised fur-bearing animals in Canada. All regulations are entirely voluntary and simply reflect the standard practices used to make the most possible profit off of each animal with the least possible amount of input and care.
It is our hope that in the future, The Telegram will aim for an objective assessment of fur farming, and not simply fall victim to industry hype.
Lesley Fox, executive director
Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals