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e-3063 (Animals)

Initiated by Janice Martens from Leduc County, Alberta

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the Government of Canada

  • The plight of millions of mink in Europe has been highlighted in the news around the world due to the mink being culled after the spread of COVID-19 on mink farms between mink and between mink and humans;
  • A COVID-19 breakout has recently been confirmed at a mink farm in the Fraser Valley, BC, where eight workers were also infected. Scientists confirm there is a real risk of a mutation of the virus occurring by these human to mink, back to human transmissions that could adversley affect the success of future vaccines;
  • Mink are intelligent and curious animals native to Canada and are far ranging in movement in their natural setting. However, on these farms, mink are kept in small wire, feces-covered cages tightly stacked together, stressed and often sick and injured, for their entire existance which lasts approximately 8-12 months before they are killed for their pelts; and
  • Several countries have already implemented bans on mink farming. A recent Research Co. survey suggests 81 per cent of Canadians oppose killing animals for their fur.
We, the undersigned, citizens of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to ban the farming of mink in the entire country.

Response by the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, PC, MP

The health and welfare of farmed mink is important to the Government of Canada. This is a shared responsibility that rests not only with the federal government, but also with provincial and territorial governments, producers, and many others.

Canadian provinces, as enabled under the Constitution Act, have the primary responsibility for protecting the welfare of animals, including farm animals and pets. Provincial and territorial legislation respecting animal welfare, where found, vary in scope and context. The interpretation, application, and enforcement of provincial farm welfare legislation must, and most appropriately, reside under their jurisdiction.

Federally, the Criminal Code of Canada prohibits anyone from willfully causing animals to suffer from neglect, pain, and injury. The Criminal Code is enforced by police services, provincial and territorial Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals, and/or provincial and territorial ministries of agriculture.     

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is responsible for regulating the importation of animals into Canada in order to prevent the introduction and spread of diseases that could negatively impact the health of both animals (including wildlife) and humans. The CFIA’s mandate with respect to animal welfare is limited to regulating the humane transport of animals and the humane treatment of food animals in federal abattoirs. CFIA veterinarians and inspectors administer and enforce the humane transport and import requirements at the border and other points of international entry.

The CFIA has worked with the Canadian mink industry on mitigating disease risks to farmed mink, including the development of a National Farm-Level Mink Biosecurity Standard, which all mink producers are encouraged to use. The CFIA and the Public Health Agency of Canada  have worked closely with both federal and provincial partners to address risks from SARS-CoV-2. As a result, national guidance on preventing and responding to SARS-CoV-2 infections in farmed mink was developed and has been shared with the provinces, territories, and industry to protect both human and animal health.

In addition, the Government has supported and participated in the development of the Codes of Practice for the care and handling of farm animals since 1980. The development of the Codes of Practice is coordinated by the National Farm Animal Care Council. Code development is a collaborative and science-informed process drawing on, among other things, the expertise of researchers, welfare and animal behaviour specialists, veterinarians, and industry experts from government and private sectors.

The Codes form the basis for development of on-farm assessment programs for various species in Canada, including farmed mink. The resulting Mink Care Assessment Program (MCAP) is a comprehensive program that helps verify that mink farms across the country are consistent with the Code of Practice. In addition to animal welfare requirements, the MCAP also addresses overall management, husbandry, and environmental practices. Canadian mink farms are also subject to on-farm inspection and third-party audits, to ensure responsible production practices.

Open for signature
December 24, 2020, at 9:20 a.m. (EDT)
Closed for signature
March 24, 2021, at 9:20 a.m. (EDT)
Presented to the House of Commons
Nathaniel Erskine-Smith (Beaches—East York)
May 6, 2021 (Petition No. 432-00920)
Government response tabled
June 21, 2021
Photo - Nathaniel Erskine-Smith
Beaches—East York
Liberal Caucus