In North America, about 95% of the people eat and wear products from animals. Worldwide, we use animals in many ways: for food, clothing, companionship, medical and scientific research and transport. Animal welfare is a top priority for mink ranchers in the U.S.
When humans raise animals, they have a responsibility to provide for their welfare. While providing animals with humane care is an ethical obligation for all livestock farmers, it also makes good business sense since the healthiest animals produce the finest furs.
Similar to other American livestock producers, fur farmers are regulated by state departments of agriculture. In addition to meeting state requirements, fur farmers have developed a comprehensive set of their own standards, in consultation with veterinarians and animal scientists, to ensure the highest quality of animal husbandry. These standards are updated whenever required as farm management techniques are enhanced and knowledge expanded.
Farmers are responsible for their animals’ care from birth to death. While standards of animal care and farm management are developed over years of work by experts, including farmers and veterinarians, when it comes to euthanasia, farmers adhere strictly to recommendations of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Such standards of practice are outlined in the 2013 AVMA Guidelines on Euthanasia and are under continuing review. Farmers and veterinarians look to this AVMA report as the key document on this issue, and such practices fall under the jurisdiction of the state departments of agriculture’s humane officers who are tasked with enforcing state anti-cruelty statutes.
Animal welfare regulations
State statutes cover everything from mistreatment and neglect, to intentional cruelty, and reports are investigated by the appropriate local and/or state agency. Under current anti-cruelty statutes, anyone who mistreats an animal faces investigation, prosecution, fines, jail time and even the loss of his animal(s).
More information on state animal cruelty laws can be found at:
- The Animal Legal & Historical Center;
- The American Society from the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals;
- Michigan State University College of Law;
In July, all mink are vaccinated. In general, mink are vaccinated against Distemper, Pseudomonas, Enteritis and Botulism. This task is very important and quality veterinary care is paramount during the vaccination phase.
Mink ranchers also work collaboratively with veterinarians to ensure that their mink are healthy, fed a well-balanced diet and live in a clean, hygienic environment.
The AMC works closely with producers, government departments, animal-welfare agencies, and veterinarians and scientists to ensure that its producers receive the latest information in the areas of veterinary care and scientific research findings.
The AMC fully supports adherence to all environmental quality statutes and supports all reasonable efforts to mitigate pollution of our air, water and land.
Use of animal by-products
Mink play an important role in the agricultural chain, consuming large quantities of by-products of food not fit for human consumption. For example, some farms may feed animals expired cheeses and or slightly damaged eggs or poultry and fish by-products that would otherwise go to landfill. World-wide, fur farms consume over a billion pounds of these by-products annually.