What is the Humane Care Merit Award Certification Program?
The fur industry’s Humane Care Merit Award program, launched in 1989, was one of the first formalized humane care certification programs in U.S. agriculture. To guide the program’s implementation, the same year also saw the first publication of the Standard Guidelines for the Operation of Mink Farms in the United States.
In consultation with veterinarians, animal scientists, wildlife biologists and farmers, the industry has developed a set of rigorous standards for the humane production of farm-raised mink. Updated regularly, these standards promote best management practices and responsible animal stewardship. The Guidelines pay detailed attention to issues of Accommodation, Food and Water, Health, Environmental Quality, Transportation, Euthanasia and Bio-Security. Farms meeting the standards receive the Humane Care Merit Award only after an independent licensed veterinarian has completed a comprehensive inspection to verify compliance. Nearly 95% of U.S. mink production comes from certified farms.