Photo showing a person wearing a mink fur coat and hat
British Columbia will phase out mink fur farms, then halt the sale of pelts. | Claudio Lavenia/Getty Images

British Columbia Is Shutting Down Its Fur Farming Industry

British Columbia will phase out its existing fur farming industry due to the COVID-19 risk posed by mink farms.

Canadian province British Columbia is shutting down its fur farming industry.

In a phase-out plan released on November 5, the government revealed that COVID-19 outbreaks motivated the ban, which will see the permanent closure of live mink farms by April 2023. By 2025, all operations, including the sale of pelts, will cease.

Lana Popham, B.C.’s Minister of Agriculture, Food, and Fisheries, explained that the decision “follows the recommendations of public health officials and infectious disease experts.”

Minks are extremely vulnerable to contracting COVID-19, and the virus is known to spread quickly with a high risk for mutation due to the cramped condition in which they are kept. Last year, Denmark culled 17 million mink over fears that a mutated version of COVID-19 could make vaccines ineffective.

“We know that it is in the best interest of public health that this decision is made,” Popham noted. 

Several countries, including France, the Netherlands, and Hungary, have announced similar bans. 

Phasing out mink farming


There are nine mink farms in B.C., and in July of this year, three were infected with COVID-19. After the outbreaks, a moratorium was introduced preventing any new mink farms from opening in the province, effectively putting an end to the industry.

Now that a permanent phase-out has been decided on, the B.C. government will work with farmers and workers to help them transition away from the industry.

The news follows the Irish government’s announcement it was moving ahead with its ban on fur farms. The legislation was, in part, motivated by Irish citizens, 80 percent of whom support a move away from fur farms.

Michael Creed, Ireland’s Minister for Agriculture, Food, and the Marine, said in a statement in October: “It is clear that there has been a shift in societal expectations in relation to the sector.”