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e-3096 (Animals)

Initiated by Michael Howie from Hamilton, Ontario

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the Government of Canada

  • Millions of fur-bearing animals are intensively farmed and killed for their fur every year in Canada;
  • Animals kept on fur farms are confined in small, wire cages for their entire lives until they are killed in accordance with National Farm Animal Care Council requirements: gas chambers (mink) or anal electrocution (foxes);
  • The captive breeding and extreme confinement of wild animals results in negative animal welfare outcomes such as severe stress, stereotypic behaviours, and inability to engage in natural behaviours;
  • Government agencies provide public funding to the fur farm sector despite industry decline;
  • Mutations of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus have occurred in Europe as a result of human-animal transmission, jeopardizing COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness;
  • Mink and workers on fur farms in British Columbia have been infected with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus;
  • Fur farms pose a public health and environmental risk in the event of a virus spillover into wild or domestic animal populations;
  • The World Health Organization advocates for a One Health approach which puts animals at the centre of public policy in creating better health outcomes;
  • The UN Environment Programme has listed "unsustainable agricultural intensification" and "increased use and exploitation of wildlife" as 2 of the 7 factors driving the emergence of zoonotic diseases; and
  • Numerous surveys and public opinion polls have found that an overwhelming majority of Canadians oppose killing animals for their fur.
We, the undersigned, citizens of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to introduce a nationwide ban on fur farming for all species of animals.

Response by the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): The Honourable

The health and welfare of animals  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 behavior 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
January 25, 2021, at 11:59 a.m. (EDT)
Closed for signature
March 26, 2021, at 11:59 a.m. (EDT)
Presented to the House of Commons
Nathaniel Erskine-Smith (Beaches—East York)
May 6, 2021 (Petition No. 432-00921)
Government response tabled
June 21, 2021
Photo - Nathaniel Erskine-Smith
Beaches—East York
Liberal Caucus