Four Parties Commit To Banning Fur Farms in Quebec
Press release – For immediate release
Montréal, September 16, 2022 – During the first-ever provincial electoral debate on animal protection presented by the Montreal SPCA last Wednesday evening, the four participating parties – the Parti conservateur du Québec, the Quebec Liberal Party, the Parti Québécois and Québec solidaire – committed to ban the farming of foxes and minks for their fur in Quebec. While a majority of Quebecers already support a ban, this is the first time that provincial political parties have taken a formal position on this issue.
The parties’ commitment to ban fur farms follows last week’s release of shocking images taken on Quebec fox and mink farms. The images, obtained by the photojournalism agency We Animals Media and released by the Canadian animal law organization Animal Justice, reveal the deplorable conditions in which animals are raised for fur production. Indeed, the images show foxes confined in small cages with wire floors, as well as minks raised in filthy, intensive conditions.
These images were submitted to veterinarian Dr. Marion Desmarchelier, who is an associate professor of animal behaviour medicine in the department of clinical sciences at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the Université de Montréal, and a diplomate of the American College of Zoological Medicine, the European College of Zoological Medicine (Zoo Health Management) and the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists. “My analysis is conclusive: the conditions in which minks and foxes are currently kept for fur production are incompatible with minimum acceptable animal welfare,” says Dr. Desmarchelier in her report (available in French only). “It is unacceptable to me that in 2022, Quebec continues to condone the infliction of such physical and psychological suffering on wild animals, even though they are recognized by law and by science as sentient beings,” she adds.
A particularly brutal industry for animals
Foxes and minks are curious, intelligent, and active animals with complex behavioral needs unique to their species. On fur farms, foxes, who in the wild roam territories of several square kilometers and dig complex dens, are confined to wire-floored cages measuring roughly one square meter. Minks, who are solitary, semi-aquatic animals, are crammed by the hundreds into cages stacked on top of each other inside sheds without access to water for swimming.
Such living conditions deprive animals of the opportunity to express their most basic natural behaviours, such as hunting, running, climbing, digging, swimming, and exploring. They cause chronic stress, in addition to the constant state of fear caused by the impossibility of escaping from human presence. The high frequency of abnormal behaviours, such as self-mutilation, cannibalism, and stereotypies (repetitive behaviors performed without apparent purpose), in animals raised for their fur is indicative of their psychological distress.
The killing methods used, chosen primarily in order to avoid damaging pelts, are also highly problematic. Foxes are typically killed by electrocution, by passing an electric current between two electrodes, one placed in the mouth and the other in the rectum of the animal. Minks are asphyxiated with CO2, a method known to be highly aversive to this species. These are not outdated or delinquent practices, but rather standard industry practices, which are even codified in the guidelines developed by the National Farm Animal Care Council.
Fur farms no longer belong in Quebec
The fur industry, and particularly fur farming, is currently in decline worldwide. Quebec is no exception: while in 1982 there were 226 fur farms in Quebec, today, in 2022, there are only three, one raising foxes and two raising minks.
The social acceptability of fur production is plummeting, leading more and more major brands to drop its use in their collections. And according to recent data, nearly three-quarters of Canadians support a federal ban on fur farms. The majority of Quebecers want to see fur farms closed in Quebec.
More than 15 countries around the world have already banned fur farms, including most recently France, Italy and Ireland. In Canada, British Columbia became the first province to ban mink farming in 2021, a decision prompted by COVID-19 outbreaks on farms.
In 2015, the Quebec government amended the Civil Code to recognize that “animals are not things” but rather “sentient beings”. Quebec law also recognizes that we, as a society, have a collective responsibility to ensure their welfare.
“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,” explains Sophie Gaillard, Director of Animal Advocacy and Legal Affairs and Interim Executive Director at the Montreal SPCA. “With the October 3rd provincial elections approaching, we need to mobilize to ensure that the next government puts an end to this industry once and for all,” she insists.
A public pressure campaign
Following the publication, on September 8, of shocking images taken on Quebec fox and mink farms, the Montreal SPCA called on political parties to put an end to this industry and launched a campaign to that effect. Since then, more than 2,400 Quebecers have joined the SPCA to speak out against the suffering inflicted on animals raised for their fur.
 All provincial parties recognized by the Chief Electoral Officer with an MNA elected to the most recent legislature were invited to participate in the debate.
 Statistique Canada, Bilan des visons et renards dans les fermes d’élevage et nombre de fermes (Tableau 32-10-0116-01) (2021), en ligne : https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/t1/tbl1/fr/tv.action?pid=3210011601; Statistique Canada, Certaines types de bétail et volailles, données chronologiques du Recensement de l’agriculture (Tableau 32-10-0155-01) (2022), en ligne : https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/t1/tbl1/en/cv.action?pid=3210015501.
 Sondage en ligne effectué par Léger Marketing pour le compte de TACT auprès de 1015 Québécois.es du 6 au 9 mai 2022.
Source: Montreal SPCA
Media contact: Anita Kapuscinska, Senior Consultant, Corporate Development and Media Relations, Montreal SPCA, 514-656-2760, firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Montréal SPCA – Founded in 1869, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (now known simply as the Montreal SPCA) was the first animal-welfare organization in Canada. Today, the Montreal SPCA is the largest animal protection organization in Quebec, speaking on behalf of animals wherever there is ignorance, cruelty, exploitation, or neglect.