Banning mink farming would set precedent

Cyndi’s Two Cents

Banning mink farming would set precedent

The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed the America Creating Opportunities for Manufacturing Pre-Eminence in Technology and Economic Strength (COMPETES) Act of 2022 by a vote of 222 to 210 with support from both parties. At the heart of the bill is investment in domestic research and manufacturing to boost global competitiveness, specifically with China. At face value, it sounds good, right? Something positive upon which D’s and R’s can, for the most part, agree?

When it comes to acts/bills/laws/regulations, I’ve learned not to take anything at face value. There were 250 amendments to this bill. Over the course of 3 days of debate, lawmakers approved 220 of them.

A bipartisan amendment led by U.S. Representatives Rosa DeLauro, D-Connecticut and Nancy Mace, R-South Carolina included a provision to ban mink farming throughout the United States. It would prohibit the possession and production American mink (in America) for its fur.

The amendment was supported by Animal Wellness Action and the Center for a Humane Economy, whose founder and president is none other than radical activist Wayne Pacelle. (Yes, the same Wayne Pacelle who was the president and chief executive officer (CEO) of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). Pacelle resigned as CEO 4 years ago this month after he was accused of sexual assault and harassment by several former employees.)

Front and center on the Animal Wellness Action website under “breaking news” is a release from Pacelle, celebrating passage of the amendment, “Today, in voting to approve the America COMPETES Act, the U.S. House of Representatives included a provision to ban mink farming throughout the United States, signaling disapproval of an industry that harms and kills animals for their pelts, exports them to China for a sliver of elite consumers, and presents a threat of SARS-CoV-2 spillover to people in the homeland.”

“Today, through working together on both sides of the aisle, we have the chance to end the abusive and inhumane mink farming practice that puts Americans’ health at risk,” said Republican Representative Mace about the amendment.

According to Fur Commission USA, in the United States in 2020 there were 120 mink farms producing 2 million pelts annually, with a farm-gate value of $80 million. Wisconsin is the largest mink-producing state in the nation, followed by Utah. As is the case with every other farm in this country, many are multi-generational family farms.

If you think for one split second that well-funded anti-animal agriculture extremist groups will stop with the low hanging fruit, you need to wake up. The amendment cites mink operations as incubators for COVID-19.  This amendment could set a precedent that not only strangers, but neighbors, friends, and family, scared to death of COVID, would unwittingly accept.

Are you the next target because you raise hogs in confinement? Am I next because I have 50 hens that are fenced in to protect them from predators? What about the young neighbor who came back to the family farm and is finishing cattle in a hoop building?

Start the conversation. Be proactive. Build relationships with representatives at all levels of government. Talk to friends, family, and neighbors about what you do and why you do it. Be accessible to answer their questions.

The COMPETES Act is a companion bill to the Senate’s U.S. Innovation and Competition Act and now moves to conference.