The word humane is significant in showing how centric the human mind can be. Humans use the word to express and define their feelings of compassion and sympathy towards other creatures(Oxford dictionary). By using the word humane they associate their feelings of compassion and sympathy with their own species. An example of this use of the word humane is the ongoing discussion about how humane the meat industry, animal farming, and fur farming are. This month, a large debate developed in Europe, primarily in Denmark which is, according to the US Department of State and other UN and international reports, a country with well human rights and humane laws and legislations record https://www.state.gov/reports/2019-country-reports-on-human-rights-practices/denmark/, over the Danish government’s decision to cull over 17 million mink animals. The government’s decision triggered a backlash and drew attention to the inhumane mink farming conditions in Denmark, and whether the government should instead be phasing out of the whole industry.
According to the Danish agriculture and food council, 1500 Danish fur farms produce 19 million Mink skins.
In addition, fur and mink skins are the third largest Danish agricultural export items of animal origin, representing an annual export value of approx. 1
,.1 billion euros. After 200 people were infected with the mink-related Covid–19 virus, Danish government officials and health scientists are calling for the culling of 17 million mink animals over fears of virus mutations that can spread to humans and affect the development of vaccines (BBC).
The culling of the animals might, however, not be the worst thing that could happen to the mink animals in Danish fur farms. Reporters who were able to enter some of the mink fur farms have described horrific scenes, living conditions, and treatment of the animals. The European Green Party has long pushed for the phasing out of the fur industry in Europe. The European Greens demand “that the fur farming industry needs to be phased out due to the severe welfare problems for all the species reared for fur” (European greens). The party has pointed out the need to phase out fur farming as it causes severe suffering for animals, and have called on the European Union to revise Council Directive 98/58/EC of 20 July 1998 concerning the protection of animals kept for farming purposes.
Meanwhile in Canada
According to the Fur Institute of Canada, Mink farms have produced 2.6 million pelts with a value of $192.5 million in Canada in 2010 . The situation of fur farms in Canada is less regulated than it is in Europe. Canada lacks national policies that regulate the fur industry. Instead, there are national voluntary guidelines for the provinces to work with. This legislative ambiguity leaves the door wide open for fur farms to operate without efficient inspection and supervision. The Green Party of Canada does not have any official statement or position published regarding the fur farms conditions in the Country. On the other hand, the Green Party of Quebec has taken a stand against fur farming since 2014. They believe that “this industry has seriously tarnished Quebec’s international reputation in terms of animal rights” (Green Party of Quebec).
Green Party of Quebec
Alex Tyrell, the leader of the Green Party of Quebec, has answered the following questions regarding the issue on November 15th, 2020 for Global Green news:
– Where does the Green Party of Quebec stand regarding fur farming in Canada?
– Alex: “The Green Party of Quebec has taken a strong position against fur farming within Quebec because of the violations to animal rights that this industry represents and practices.”
– Do you support an immediate shutdown of the industry, or do you instead call for a phasing out of the fur farming industry?
– Alex: “The word immediate is sometimes hard to achieve in politics. The Green party of Quebec, however, want to phase out as quickly as possible”
– According to the Fur Institute of Canada, the fur industry contributes nearly $1 billion annually to the Canadian economy. What plan does the Green Party of Quebec have to make up for the loss that a shutdown of the fur industry could cause to the Canadian economy, and how are you planning to support the affected farmers and businesses?
– Alex: “As with many of the other different changes we want to make in the agricultural industry, Green Party government will be there to support the farmers and the agricultural industry in helping them transition to more sustainable and more ethical operations”. Despite the clear position the Green Party of Quebec has against the fur industry, Canada seems to have no official improvement plans in the horizon for the conditions of fur farms.
Although the European parliament has strong laws to regulate the work of the animal industry, it still needs efficient legislative and application tools for the European countries to, successfully, end the mistreatment of wild and domestic animals. Canada, on the other hand, is a traditional international fur producer, and neither the government nor the large active parties seem to be concerned about improving its fur industry reality and humane conditions. Until then, for the millions of mink animals in fur farms, the only humane relief possible seems to be in the spread of the Coronavirus.