Here is a short list of 5 things you need to know about mink fur farming. We will here focus on animal welfare and how it doesn’t exist on a fur farm. Our goal is to raise awareness about the terrible conditions in which these poor minks live on fur farms!

Let’s not forget; Open Cages is campaigning with the #FurFreeBritain coalition to ban the sale of fur here.

1. Minks spend their days in tiny barren, dirty cages

Minks are wild animals that need huge territories, and in nature they lead a solitary lifestyle. However, in fur farms they are squeezed into wire cages and live lives of stress and misery. The cages are filled with filth and the animals have no escape from their cage-mates. This creates a series of very serious problems for these minks. Forced to share small cages with other animals, they quickly begin to fight among themselves. Often we can find deep wounds from bites that the animals inflict on each other while under constant stress – and from trying to eat the food that falls on the minks’ heads. 

2. Cannibalism, aggression and madness

In these horrifying conditions cannibalism and madness are not uncommon. The animals behave this way due to stress, psychological problems, boredom and aggression – whilst being stuck inside a cage with others in the same situation. Unfortunately, there is no way to eradicate cannibalistic behaviour on a fur farm, which is directly related to a breeding system that contradicts the natural behaviour of minks.

Open Cages  published an investigation revealing conditions on one of these fur farms in 2020. This fur farm in Poland is considered the biggest fur farm in the world – with about half a million animals. The documented conditions of near-death or injured minks were horrifying, and cannibalism was observed so often that the farmers referred to a summer ‘cannibalistic phase’:

Many cases of mutual mink aggression have ended with cases of cannibalism. Yevhen, the activist who worked on the farm, documented numerous cases in which we see minks eaten almost entirely by their companions. Cannibalism and aggression are so common on farms that the farmers themselves often refer to the summer period as the ‘cannibalistic phase’, which ends in early autumn when the animals are already fattened up and become lazier, and thus less likely to attack. 

3. The only way out is a brutal death

Minks in these conditions have been shown to self harm, and to be prone to eye infections, as well as poisoning, convulsions, paralysis and apathy.

The way out? An agonising ‘hospitalisation’ and a violent death, often by gassing. 

Yevhen recalls:

The most injured and sickly animals were sent to a so-called ‘hospital’. This pavilion was no different from the rest of the farm. The weakest animals that could not cope with the stronger ones simply ended up there. Unfortunately, they could still not count on professional care. Workers sent on rotation to work in the ‘hospital’ simply sprinkled the deep wounds with fodder chalk, which in practice only prolonged the animals’ agony. There was nobody with veterinary experience[…]. When the animal no longer had the strength to take in food on its own, it was gassed. And so were mothers, who produced a small litter (less than 5 puppies).

4. Animal escapes

Another important problem relating to mink fur farming is that of animal escapes. This issue is particularly relevant today in relation to the coronavirus pandemic. In fact, it has been confirmed that the mink is the only farm animal that can be infected with the virus, transfer it to other animals and, finally, transfer it to humans. Such cases have been documented, for example, in the Netherlands, where Covid-19 was confirmed in 42 of the 128 farms in operation.

It is because of this that in November of last year, Denmark decided to cull their entire mink population. Killing 17 million animals! 

5. Mink fur is still sold in the UK

We have been campaigning for years for a ban on the sale of fur post Brexit. We’re closer than ever, but at this moment the sale of mink, fox and other animal furs are still currently legal in this country. 

England and Wales were the first countries in Europe to ban fur farming in 2000, with Scotland and Northern Ireland following in 2002

Some concluding remarks…

I want to conclude this article with an appeal for minks – and all the other animals suffering because of the fur farming system – simply because they deserve a better life than what has been described here!

The fur industry in Europe is on the brink of total collapse. We have seen fur bans beckon in Estonia; mutant COVID cases afflicting Danish mink; people and governments across the world waking up to the cruelty of this outdated industry. The fur industry is under more pressure than ever before. Years of campaigning, some shocking investigations, and the pandemic have combined to create a perfect storm.

Open Cages is committed to taking down the fur industry – you can help us do that right now by clicking here.