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As long as mink farms are present in BC, they present a persistent risk to public health

There have been COVID-19 outbreaks on three separate mink farms in British Columbia where both mink and workers have been infected with the virus. In an order establishing a moratorium on new mink farms, British Columbia’s Provincial Health Officer stated that mink farming is a health hazard that endangers public health. Mink farming undermines government efforts to build a sustainable post-pandemic recovery, and mink farms will always pose a risk to public health if they continue operating beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.

Both the World Health Organization and BC’s Provincial Health Officer have warned of the risk that infected mink from fur farms could escape and transmit the virus to wild animals. This could lead to the virus becoming permanently established in wild animal populations. The presence of infected mink also risks the development of mutations which could affect current vaccine efficacy.

Fur farming provides no tangible economic benefit to British Columbians

Products from fur farms are primarily destined for export markets to produce goods for the luxury fashion industry. Revenues for BC’s fur farm sector and contribution to the province’s GDP are minimal. In 2019, raw fur in BC saw less than $5 million in sales, a 63% decrease from the year prior. BC’s fur farm sector accessed $6.5 million through government income support programs from 2014 – 2020 due to the collapsing price of fur.

BC’s fur farm sector employs approximately 150 workers. Many of these positions are low-wage, seasonal, part-time, and some are filled through Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker program. Work in the fur farm sector is precarious and unsafe.

Fur farming raises serious concerns about animal welfare

Mink are semi-aquatic species who evolved to swim. On fur farms, they live in small wire cages, just a little larger than a sheet of paper. When they are slaughtered for their fur, mink are gassed to death in gas chambers and chinchillas are electrocuted. Although there are currently no active fox farms in BC, the accepted industry practice to slaughter foxes in Canada is by anal electrocution.

Mink have no access to swimming water or their natural environment. Their extreme confinement causes stress, results in repetitive behaviours, self-mutilation, and sometimes cannibalism. There is no ability for these wild animals to express natural behaviours like digging, foraging for food, climbing, running, or swimming.

Fur farming is on its way out, so we are calling for a swift and equitable transition away

The fur farming sector has lost its social license to operate. A 2020 survey found that 85% of British Columbians are opposed to the practice of killing animals for their fur. Official federal petition e-3096 calling for a nationwide ban on fur farming in Canada garnered 7738 signatures. Closures of fur farms and fur farming bans in numerous countries across Europe is evidence of broad opposition to this practice.

We are not against fur farmers and workers, but it is clear that the harms of fur farming and public opposition to it far outweigh the marginal economic interests of a small group of fur farmers. We are calling for a transition away from fur farming and a transition to sustainable and ethical opportunities.


A fur farm can be described as a large-scale industrial operation, similar to a puppy mill. Wild animals including mink, foxes, and chinchillas are bred and raised in small wire cages and killed solely for their fur. The fur is largely exported to foreign countries who use it for the fashion industry – mostly trim for collars, cuffs, keychains and other accessories or trinkets.

Yes. 9 mink farms. 1 chinchilla farm. All mink farms are located in the Fraser Valley. Mink farms are large industrial operations, with some farms housing tens of thousands of animals. The chinchilla farm is located in the interior and houses less than one hundred chinchillas.

The most recent data from Statistics Canada shows that 269,400 mink were killed for the fur in BC in 2018. Statistics Canada does not track how many chinchillas are bred or killed for their fur.

The BC Government would need to pass a law to ban fur farms and end the ability for fur farmers to have a provincial fur farming license. It requires an amendment to the Animal Health Act and abrogation of the Fur Farm Regulation.

Currently, about 150 people are employed by BC’s fur farming industry. Many of those jobs are seasonal, part-time, low-wage, and the work is precarious and unsafe. There is an opportunity to transition workers to new and more stable and profitable industries – for example, green jobs, or jobs that help support our shared climate goals and increase food security.

Fur farming and traditional Indigenous trapping are separate issues. Fur farming is not consistent with the traditional values of Indigenous Peoples. Fur farming is a colonial practice that exploits and commercializes wild animals for profit.

The Union of BC Indian Chiefs is opposed to the breeding, confinement, and slaughter of animals for luxury fashion products. In a statement calling for a ban on fur farming, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the UBCIC stated, “We are renewing our call for an end to fur farming in BC. This industry not only goes against Indigenous values of wildlife stewardship and conservation, but also has proven to be an unmanageable threat to public health. The unnecessary and deeply troubling suffering minks are subjected to — lifelong confinement in cramped and filthy cages — only promotes the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory viral infections.”

Fur farms do not provide food for British Columbians. It is an industry that exists to supply the fashion fur trade. Livestock farmers would not be affected by a fur farming ban.

Fur farms access public funding through AgriStability, a national program delivered provincially in British Columbia. AgriStability protects producers against declines in farming income. Since 2014, the BC and federal government paid fur farmers $6,495,110 through this program (AGR-2020-07303). According to government sources, the revenue of BC’s fur industry has declined around $3 million each year from 2013 – 2019 (AGR-2021-12255).

There are likely high additional costs to taxpayers for the government’s surveillance, monitoring, and mitigation protocols for the COVID-19 outbreaks on mink farms, although this number is not currently determined.

Fur from farmed mink made $4,704,00 in sales in 2019, down 63% from 2018 which saw $12,823,000 in sales. Fur farming is not financially viable. It would be to the economic benefit of British Columbia to end fur farming and transition workers to other sectors.

Fur farming is based on the whims of the fashion fur trade. Fashion is fickle and fur is falling out of favour as more and more companies go ‘fur free’. It is a volatile industry that is susceptible to great risk. 

We agree. Phasing out a non-profitable industry in favour of more lucrative and sustainable opportunities is the best way to achieve our shared goal for economic success. 

A 2020 poll conducted by BC public opinion firm Research Co., found that 85% of the population of BC are opposed to killing animals for their fur. Prominent scientists, infectious diseases experts, celebrities, animal protection organizations, and Indigenous groups have all publicly expressed support for the end of fur farming in British Columbia. 

3 mink farms have been placed under quarantine since December 2020. According to status reports published by the World Organisation for Animal Health, as of October 2021:

  • 253 mink have been infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus
  • 248 mink died from the virus
  • 5 infected mink were killed
  • 10,917 susceptible mink were slaughtered
  • 17 fur farm workers and their contacts have tested postive for the virus

On July 26, 2021, British Columbia’s Provincial Health Officer identified mink farming as a health hazard and issued a moratorium on new mink farms. Read the full order here.

On November 5, 2021, the government of British Columbia announced it will phase-out mink farming, with all mink farms required to cease operations by 2025. Read more here.

Watch the Fur Farm Webinar

The Fur-Bearers hosted a fur farm webinar and panel on July 12, 2021 about fur farming in British Columbia. Speakers at this webinar and panel included Dr. Sara Dubois of the BC SPCA, Kukpi7 Judy Wilson from the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, infectious disease physician Dr. Jan Hajek, and Lesley Fox, Executive Director of The Fur-Bearers.

Inside British Columbia's fur farms

Even if national guidelines are being followed, animals will always suffer. View the gallery to witness industry standard conditions of BC’s fur farms.

Read the Report It's Time: Ending Fur Farming in British Columbia

Published by The Fur-Bearers in 2021, this report provides an overview of British Columbia’s fur farming sector. The report documents historic problems, risks and harms, and closes with a plan for the future.

What you can do

Take Political Action

We need to send a loud and clear message to legislators in British Columbia: it is time to end fur farming. Click here to send a letter to Members of the Legislative Assembly and sign a petition that will be presented in the BC Legislature.

Get Informed

Follow the social media accounts and watch for news releases of the supporting organizations on the homepage to keep up to date on campaign actions and latest updates.

Spread The Word

Share this page and updates about fur farming from supporting organizations on social media. Use the hashtag #EndFurFarmingBC. Tell your friends and family about fur farming and have them take action.

Be part of the movement that will end fur farming in British Columbia