Fur-Bearer Defenders

Fur-Bearer Defenders

March 17, 2009 09:00 ET

Fur-Bearers Defenders: Disease Runs Rampant on BC Fur Farms

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - March 17, 2009) - Aleutian Disease has been found on BC mink farms, and is now running rampant through an already struggling industry. Aleutian Disease or AD is a viral disease with no known cure. It causes liver failure and attacks internal organs eventually causing death.

In a recent letter from Lindsay Kislock, Assistant Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Lands, she states, "AD is endemic in British Columbia, and most farms are affected with the AD virus... farms have the option to slaughter the infected animals or attempt to segregate them from the uninfected stock."

Fur farms have difficulty in segregating animals to avoid the spread of infection, as animals can take up to a year to show symptoms of the disease. In turn many may be forced to close operations for a year while they slaughter their entire stock.

Fur is a luxury item, and in today's economic turmoil, low pelt prices are already having a huge effect on the fur industry. Nova Scotia farmers are already asking for government bailouts. Could BC be next?

Adrian Nelson from the Vancouver based group Fur-Bearer Defenders fears the disease could spread and be a concern to the public. "We have thirteen mink farms in the province of BC, and many of those farms are right here in the Lower Mainland. If this disease spreads to domestic animals, or worse, runs rampant through our wild populations, this could spell both a health and environmental disaster for BC." Adrian further states, "This disease is often spread through unsatisfactory conditions and contaminated food or water. If these are the sort of conditions the fur ranchers are inflicting on their animals, I worry about what environmental controls they have in place."

In today's world of Avian flu, Hoof and Mouth disease, and West Nile virus, can BC be safe from another livestock borne disease?

Fur-Bearer Defenders is a well-established Canadian non-profit society working to stop trapping cruelty and protect fur-bearing animals. We are managed by a dedicated, volunteer Board of Directors, and our work is entirely supported by donations and memberships of individuals.

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