TORONTO, June 4, 2015 /CNW Telbec/ - Canadian mink producers announced today that they are offering a reward of $75,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of animal extremists who released 1,500 nursing female mink from an Ontario mink farm this past weekend, putting their young kits at risk a hypothermia and dehydration.
"Animal activists claim that such criminal activity is justified by their opposition to using animals, but their irresponsible action shows a shocking disregard for the welfare of the animals," says Kirk Rankin, president of the Canada Mink Breeders Association.
"Each of these female mink was caring for four or five very young babies. The mink 'kits' are now barely a month old and still completely dependent on their mothers for food and warmth. Some don't even have fur and their eyes are not open yet. To make things worse, the weather was unusually cold over the weekend, increasing the risk of hypothermia," said Rankin, who has a farm nearby and spent Sunday with other neighbours trying to rescue escaped mink.
"We know there is a small segment of extremists who want to put us out of business, but, honestly, we would never have thought anyone could be so ignorant or heartless as to separate mothers from their nursing young," said Jeff Richardson, owner of the farm.
"Although many of the mink were recovered, there is no way to know which litters belong to which females, so only time will tell how many will accept and care for these helpless young kits," said Richardson.
About 50 of the mink that did leave the farm were killed by cars or died of exposure, and another 80 of the rescued mink died in the next two days. "Unfortunately, there will be more deaths in the coming days of both mothers and babies," says Gary Hazlewood, executive director of Canada Mink Breeders, who also lives in the region.
"We know that Saturday was billed by North American activists as "A Day of Direct Action" against any use of animals, even for food or clothing," said Hazlewood. "It's despicable that anyone would make animals suffer in this way just to further their own agenda.
"If you don't want to use our product then don't buy it, but how can you claim to care about animals when you do something like this. People have a right to their opinions, but what kind of society would this be if everyone took the law into their own hands to impose their views on others?"
- Codes of Practice have been developed by the Canadian Farm Animal Care Council to assure that mink receive the best possible nutrition and care: https://www.nfacc.ca/codes-of-practice/mink.
- Ontario is the second-largest Canadian producer of farmed mink, after Nova Scotia. About 3.5 million farmed mink are produced in Canada annually, representing more than $175 million in exports.
- To provide accurate information about mink farming and other sectors of the modern North American fur industry, Canada Mink Breeders Association participates in the new informational web-portal: www.TruthAboutFur.com
SOURCE Fur Council of Canada
For further information: and interviews: Gary Hazlewood, Canada Mink Breeders: (416) 675-9400; Alan Herscovici, Fur Council of Canada: (514) 844-1945; www.TruthAboutFur.com