THE NETHERLANDS, 7 DECEMBER 2015 – New undercover footage of Dutch animal rights organisation Stichting Animal Rights reveals violent animal mistreatment on a Dutch mink farm. The footage, recorded on mink farm Rios Mink in Rosmalen, shows two employees hard-handedly throwing mink into a gas box. The brutal abuse of mink exposed by the video is not the first time Rios Mink has caused controversy. In October, Stichting Animal Rights filed an animal neglect complaint against the company, after it had come to light during an inspection that the mink cages had not been cleaned for an extensive period of time and were severely dirty covered in thick layer of faeces.
Last month Dutch court ruled to uphold the mink ban, which was implemented in 2013 and will go into full effect in 2024. Until then, each year 6 million mink are killed in The Netherlands, which accounts for the 4th largest mink farm industry in the world. In Europe mink are generally killed by gassing with carbon monoxide (CO) – as in The Netherlands – or carbon dioxide (CO2). Gassing is a controversial killing method that is reported to be painful by numerous animal welfare experts.
CO is thought to induce unconsciousness and death through deprivation of oxygen, although other mechanisms may be involved. Being semi-aquatic, mink have specific adaptations for swimming and diving, including the ability to detect and respond to the effects of hypoxia (low oxygen levels). EU legislation currently permits the use of a gas mixture containing more than 4% CO from a pure source or more than 1% CO associated with other toxic gases from filtered exhaust gases. In practice, the concentration of CO in the killing chamber is often not measured. A concentration of up to 3% CO in filtered exhaust gases is ineffective, with mink taking more than 7-15 minutes to die or not dying at all. A 2008 report from the working-group to the Scientific Advisory Committee on Animal Health and Welfare (SACAHW) in Ireland concluded:
“There is strong evidence, therefore, that carbon dioxide is an unsuitable method for killing mink and that its use results in significant welfare compromise […] The use of carbon dioxide for killing mink is not acceptable and should not be permitted”
Read more about animal welfare problems and killing methods on fur farms in the recently published report ‘A Case against Fur Factory Farming‘.
The two employees had been working on the farm for more than two years and, according to the owner, followed a training to properly handle the animals. Both were fired today.
Watch the footage here (Warning: contains graphic content!):