By Alan Herscovici
Lesley Fox, executive director of the Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals, represents a lobby group that opposes any use of fur, so it is not surprising that she is upset about Eastern Canada’s thriving mink farming sector. (“The other side of the fur equation,” Aug 28.)
Her criticisms, however, are unfair to the farm families whose hard work and commitment are responsible for this impressive success story.
Fox trots out a litany of sensationalist activist claims about purported animal welfare abuses, but conveniently fails to acknowledge that these concerns are addressed in a new Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Farmed Mink that was published by the National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC) this year. With its blend of mandatory and recommended guidelines, this is precisely the same sort of code used to regulate the production of beef and dairy cattle, pigs, chickens and other farm animals.
While Fox may scoff at the idea
that healthy and well cared-for animals are productive animals (i.e., a strong incentive for farmers to provide
excellent care) this scepticism is not shared by veterinarians and animal
scientists. According to the NFACC,
the codes are based on “the best science available for each species, compiled through an independent peer-reviewed process, along with stakeholder input.”
The fact that Newfoundland farmers are receiving record prices for their mink (more than $100 per pelt in recent sales) is a strong testament to the quality of care they provide for their animals. Rising prices also reflect rapidly growing demand for fur in markets around the world. Fur was featured in the collections of more than 400 fashion designers on the runways of Paris, London, Milan and New York this season.
Despite years of activist campaigning, consumers are choosing fur in unprecedented numbers. That may not please Fox, but it is good news for Newfoundland farmers.
Alan Herscovici is the executive vice-president of the Fur Council of Canada,
based in Montreal.