Ontario Mink Release and Industry Response

Read the initial release from the Canada Mink Breeders Association:

CMBA offers reward for capture of farm invaders

Read the response from the Fur Council of Canada:

Hello all –

For your information, following is a summary of our rapid response protocol re recent Ontario mink release:

1.       Soon after the release was discovered, CMBA exec director Gary Hazlewood and CMBA president Kirk Rankin — both of whom live nearby — were on the scene and handled local media.  The industry’s story was effectively communicated: i.e., the irresponsibility of releasing nursing females while the young kits are still completely dependent on their mother.   

2.       Because the story carries important messages, we developed a press release (attached) with the new “news hook” that Canadian mink farmers are offering a $75,000 reward for information leading to arrest/conviction of these extremists – in order to attract additional media coverage.  This release was sent to English media across Canada a few hours ago, and Global TV News has already called for more information.

3.       The press release is bring translated into French for distribution to Quebec media. Our supplementary goal here is to help “educate” French media about the true nature of animal extremists in advance of the upcoming trial of a Quebec mink farmer (the story that made headlines last Fall).  (Note that the farmer is being charged under the Criminal Code for animal cruelty for, among other things, having dirty or inadequate water bowls; compare this to separating nursing mothers from their young!)

4.       Media protocol is as follows:  Gary Hazlewood (CMBA) and Alan Herscovici (FCC/TaF) are listed as industry contacts on press release.  We will provide background and refer appropriate media to CMBA president Kirk Rankin. (Kirk, of course, is a farmer himself and lives near the targeted farm; he participated in rescuing released mink on Sunday.  Kirk is ready to allow cameras to film in his barns, if desired.)

5.       We have posted the press release on TruthAboutFur facebook page and other social media.

6.       We will be producing a blog post: “5 Things You Should Know About Mink Releases”, using this case to show how activists value ideology more than animal welfare

7.       Main speaking points:

          It is completely responsible to release nursing females at a time when their young kits are completely dependent upon them.

          How can activists claim to know or care about animals when they subject young (“baby”) mink to this suffering?

          This is a shameful attack on the livelihood of a well-run family farm; these animals were being well cared for.

          This is especially hurtful because farmers are working around the clock at this time of year to ensure that new-born mink are healthy, safe and well cared for.

          Activist counter-argument : “Farmers were only keeping these animals alive until they could make a profit from them in the Fall; at least they were able to enjoy some freedom and die in nature.”   (This is already being repeated to us by media)

          Response: These are not wild animals; they have been raised on farms for more than 100 years. (100 mink generations is the equivalent of 2,000 human years!) They are not prepared to fend for themselves. Many released animals are dying from exposure, pneumonia; the young risk starvation and hypothermia.  In any case: just because you disagree with using fur (or any other material) does not give you the right to break into a legally-run farm and destroy someone’s livelihood.

We will keep you all informed as this story develops. 


Alan Herscovici
Executive Vice-President
Fur Council of Canada