We where recently contacted by a Humane Society in Ontario inquiring if we where able to take a Mink. I consented and that is how Charlie the little mink arrived at Hobbitstee.
Charlie’s story is unusual and sad in a way. Charlie is a juvenile mink who was released from a mink farm by animal rights activist. Due to disease risks (because he had actually left the farm) the farmer would not take Charlie back, so I agreed to give Charlie a home. This was an unusual decision on my part as we do not deal with domestic animals, but mink are considered native wildlife and so I agreed to give it a try. I did however state that I would only keep Charlie if his new life did not cause him to much stress.
Luckily Charlie is adapting fine and is showing stress free behavior. He is eating well and loves to play in his new enclosure. Plans are underway to build an enclosure with a build in swimming pool because mink are considered to be semi-aquatic. We will work with Charlie so that he will hopefully be able to serve as an Animal Ambassador for Hobbitstee and join us out and about when we do educational events. Charlie can help educate people about Mink and others in the weasel family and he will serve as a reminder as to why we as humans really need to think through our actions and the consequences of these actions.
Charlie was lucky, but many of the released mink will not be so lucky…
Mink are a native species of wildlife in Ontario, but are also kept in domestic settings for the production of fur coats. Setting personal feelings about the fur farming industry aside I will go out on a limb and speak out strongly against what these animal rights activists have done. These types of actions can potentially have devastating effects on our natural wildlife and cause harm to the animals directly involved.
By releasing hundreds of non-native mink amongst the native population of mink and other wildlife the natural balance gets upset. Mink are fierce little predators and there is only so much prey to go around. Habitat space can also become an issue. Never mind the chances of potential disease transfer or the introduction of non-native genetic strains into our wild population.
Aside from that the farmed mink have been bred in captivity for generation after generation. In doing so they have been domesticated. They have had their meals served in bowls their whole lives and for many generations. Many of the mink after having been ‘released’ simply returned to their cages when feeding time came around.
Not all of them did, some got run over on the road, some got eaten by predators and many will have starved to death by now because they do not know how to catch live prey like their wild counter parts.
I can not call this act by these animal rights activist anything other than cruelty to animals. The released mink who starved to death will certainly agree with me.
I have experience with handling wild mink and they are ferocious creatures who are very difficult to handle. Charlie is fond of having his belly rubbed and he will beg for every person who comes near him to do so. Not exactly behavior I have ever seen in wild mink. This is further to prove my point that farmed mink are domesticated.
Non of this is taking into account the hardship this caused to the farmer and his family who suffered serious financial losses as a result of these actions.
I understand that people might not agree with fur-farming, but you can only make a fundamental changes by educating the public about the ‘plight’ of these fur-farmed animals.
When there is no demand for the product, production will seize.