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Born Free USA Blog

Born Free USA Blog

The Dutch give me goosebumps

Published 07/13/09
By Monica Engebretson, Senior Program Associate

Goose bumps are defined as bumps on the skin that "involuntarily develop when a person is cold or experiences strong emotions such as fear or awe."

In my case it is awe.

I am in awe of the Dutch government.

Despite the Netherlands being the third largest mink producer in the world, on June 30 a majority in the Dutch Parliament voted to ban mink farming in the Netherlands.

This is huge and the reason given for moving to ban the practice is even bigger.

The Dutch have deemed mink farming unethical.

Of course anyone who cares about animals can agree that mink farming is unethical, but to have a government agree and take steps to correct it ... well it restores my faith in people and governments.

The bill still has to be approved by the Dutch Senate. Fingers crossed.

I guess I shouldn't be so surprised, the Dutch outlawed fox farming years ago. It just took a few more years of education for lawmakers to understand why there can never be such thing as a "humane mink farm."

The U.S. is so far behind on this issue it's embarrassing. The U.S. has no federal laws regulating fur farms ... not a one.

So, I'm providing a few facts about mink to get the education process started. The more people know about it the more likely the information will eventually sink in and penetrate the hearts of our government officials.

Mink are highly active animals. A study of wild mink in the United States measured a mean home range of about 3 to 6 miles. However the typical mink farm cage is 1 x 3 feet. Given the stark contrast between how mink live in the wild to how they are forced to live on mink farms it's not surprising that studies of farmed mink have suggested that between 24 to 55 percent of adult mink housed under standard conditions may suffer from stomach ulcers — a sign of profoundly poor welfare. In addition farmed mink are deprived of swimming water. Research shows that mink find being deprived of swimming water to be nearly as stressful as being denied food.

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Sigh ... hang in there, little mink ... we are evolving, however slowly.

Blogging off,

Monica

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