On 8th September 2022, the Canadian animal law organization Animal Justice released images of foxes and minks kept in Quebec fur farms taken last month by the agency We Animals Media, which show the horrible conditions two of the three remaining fur farms in the province keep their animals. The images show foxes confined in small, barren wire cages, and minks kept in filthy, intensive conditions. The mink farm is Visonnière Labonté in Thetford Mines, and the fox farm is Les Élevages G.L.H. Fourrures et Fils in Honfleur.
Animal Justice has stated that it believes the animals may be suffering illegally, in violation of provincial animal cruelty laws and the industry’s own codes of practice. The organization has filed a legal complaint with the Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation (MAPAQ), as well as the Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs (MFFP), and is calling for an immediate inspection of both farms to determine whether charges are warranted.
In response to this exposé, several animal protection organisations are now calling for a total ban on fur farms, to protect animal welfare and human health. According to Statistics Canada, only one fox farm and two mink farms were still operational in the province in 2021, compared to 28 fur farms operating in 2011. Considering that there are provincial elections in Quebec in October and that British Columbia has already banned mink farming, a total fur farming ban in Quebec seems a very achievable objective now.
Sophie Gaillard, Director of Animal Advocacy and Legal Affairs and Interim Executive Director at the Montreal SPCA, said “The heartbreaking images released this morning illustrate the suffering of hundreds, if not thousands, of animals who continue to be raised for their fur in Quebec…A ban on fur farming would be the logical next step in a series of animal protection reforms that have taken place in Quebec in recent years. It is simply no longer acceptable today, in 2022, to continue to inflict such suffering on sentient beings for the sole purpose of producing a luxury textile, which is absolutely unnecessary.”
Alanna Devine, a Montreal-based jurist and spokesperson for Animal Justice, said, “Fur is a dying industry in Quebec, with nearly 90% of the province’s cruel and outdated fur farms closing over the past decade. Cramming foxes and minks into barren wire cages for their entire lives deprives them of the ability to fulfil nearly every biological need. It’s standard in the fur industry to gas minks to death, and to kill foxes by anal electrocution. Quebec should follow in BC’s footsteps and ban this antiquated industry that causes immense suffering to animals and exposes people to dangerous public health risks.”