May 28th, 2024

B.C. court rejects mink farmers’ lawsuits over ban imposed during pandemic

By The Canadian Press on May 9, 2024.

A mink is shown in a pen at a farm in Ontario on Thursday, July 9, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Geoff Robins

VANCOUVER – The British Columbia Supreme Court has rejected lawsuits by mink farmers challenging a provincial shutdown of the industry over COVID-19 concerns.

A ruling by Justice Amy Francis says “highly publicized incidences” of COVID-19 outbreaks on mink farms prompted provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry to order the industry to “take various measures to prevent the spread of the virus,” in July 2021.

The ruling says the province then moved to ban mink farming in November 2021, to phase it out completed by April 2025, when all activities including keeping and dealing in pelts will be prohibited.

Five mink companies launched lawsuits against the province, Henry, Agriculture Minister Lana Popham and B.C.’s chief veterinarian.

The ruling says the mink farms claimed to be blindsided when the province enacted the total ban, which they alleged was for improper political purposes.

But Francis ruled the lawsuits were “bound to fail” because the core of their claims were “based on a misunderstanding of our system of responsible government.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 9, 2024.

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