New Democrat bill would ensure animal welfare standards applied to mink farms

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minkVICTORIA— Mink bred for their pelts on B.C. farms should be protected by provincial animal cruelty laws, say the New Democrats.

Lana Popham, New Democrat spokesperson for agriculture and food, introduced a bill on Wednesday that amends the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act to include the recommended best practices contained in the Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Farmed Mink, as recommended by the National Farm Animal Care Council.

This code was developed by Agriculture Canada with the collaboration of producers, government departments, animal-welfare agencies, veterinarians and scientists.

Scientific research findings are the basis for these standards.  This code addresses animal health and welfare concerns, namely; accommodation, food and water, care and supervision, health care, hygiene and sanitation, transportation of live mink, and euthanasia.

“I’m happy to support work that is being done by industry to improve standards of care for farm animals,” said Popham. “Bringing forward this legislation is acknowledgment of that good work.”

If passed, Popham’s Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Mink Farms) Amendment Act would add the National Farm Animal Care Council’s code of practice to B.C.’s existing animal cruelty act.

Lesley Fox, executive director of the Fur-Bearers, supports the bill.

“We are extremely pleased to see MLA Lana Popham taking a progressive step forward with this legislation. By turning the voluntary codes of practice into law, MLA Popham is creating a reliable level of welfare standards that will protect the animals, legitimate businesses, and consumers,” said Fox.

Popham is encouraging her fellow MLAs on both sides of the house to support the bill.

“Last week, Premier Christy Clark participated in Animal Protection Day. This week, I hope that she will show that she is serious about animal welfare in this province, and encourage B.C. Liberal MLAs to support this bill,” said Popham.