In 1985, the Fur Farm Animal Welfare Coalition published the nation’s first set of operating Guidelines for the benefit of domestic mink and fox producers in the United States. These Guidelines were designed to assist farmers in assuring a humane environment for the animals under their care. They were prepared by leaders in the U.S. fur farming industry, including professionals in the fields of veterinary medicine and animal nutrition, and the farmers themselves. The Humane Care Merit Award Program has won wide acceptance in the U.S. fur farm industry. By 1990, more than 95% of American mink production came from farms which met these standards and passed inspection by an independent veterinarian.
This extraordinary level of voluntary participation reflects the conscientious commitment of American fur farmers to the highest standards of humane animal care. In 1994, fur farming leaders undertook a comprehensive update and revision of the industry’s humane care Guidelines, creating separate Guidelines for mink and fox. The results of that process are presented in the following three booklets which focus on mink and is published by the Animal Welfare Committee of Fur Commission USA. Fox farming Guidelines are published by the U.S. Fox Shippers’ Council. Since 1994, the mink Guidelines have been reviewed and modified numerous times and it is a document that is continuously under review, reflecting changes in animal science.
The 2019 Standard Guidelines have been written to reflect the most recent scientific thought on animal care and welfare, and have been scientifically peer reviewed by a nationally renowned animal auditing organization. These new standards are being implemented throughout the country and reflect the highest animal welfare and humane care protocols in the world.
The Standard Guidelines for the Operation of Mink Farms in the United States consist of three “Books”; Standards, Records, and Protocols; the Farm Audit Instrument; and the Biosecurity Protocols for Mink Farms in the U.S. Each can be downloaded below.
- Book 1: Standards, Records and Protocols
- Book 2: Farm Audit Instrument
- Book 3: Biosecurity Protocols for Mink Farms in the U.S.
By adhering to these animal care requirements, the U.S. mink producers are able to qualify their product under the International Fur Federation FurMark traceability and certification label.