Saturday, 8 September 2012

Mink farms ethical in raising livestock

Ty Savoy has a right to his opinion that “animals are 100 per cent equal to us” (“Hell on earth for animals,” May 12 letter), and Sharon Earl’s facts are skewed concerning mink, but she is certainly right when she says animals “deserve to live their lives free from cruelty” (Aug. 25 letter).

But most Canadians believe we have a right to use animals for food, clothing and other purposes. We certainly agree that farmers have a responsibility to provide for the welfare of their animals and to care for them in an ethical manner.

Standards for the nutrition, care and euthanasia of farmed mink are set out in recommended codes of practice developed by Agriculture Canada — the same sort of codes that are applied to all sectors of animal agriculture.

The code is currently being revised, (facilitated by the National Farm Animal Care Council), to ensure that the most current research on best practices for mink farming is included.

The Nova Scotia Mink Breeders Association is actively involved in this review, along with other Canadian producers, veterinarians, animal welfare agencies and officials from Agriculture Canada and the provincial governments.

We look forward to the completion of the updated code to further support our ethical responsibility as livestock ranchers. While some people feel that we should not use animals at all — and they are entitled to their opinion — 97 per cent of Canadians do eat meat and wear products from animals.

Mink farming plays an important role in the agricultural chain — farmed mink are fed with leftovers from abattoirs and fish plants that would otherwise go to landfill. Farmed mink also provide fine oils for skin care, waterproofing leather and organic fertilizers. Nothing is wasted.

Nova Scotia’s mink production also contributes to the provincial economy. Thousands are employed directly or indirectly and pelt exports bring over $130 million into the rural economy.

Nationally, the fur trade contributes $800 million to the Canadian economy, including more than $450 million in exports.

While the jobs and revenues are certainly important, Nova Scotia farmers are also proud that the mink we produce are recognized as being among the finest in the world — quality standards that simply cannot be achieved without providing excellent care for our animals.

Dan Mullen is president of the Nova Scotia Mink Breeders Association.

Original Article Here

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