New report reveals that Norwegian foxes and mink are not tame
The report concludes that the majority of foxes and mink on Norwegian fur farms display fear rather than trust in response to a tameness test.
In the study, mink were tested using a stick test, where the behavioural response to a novel object in the cage (a small stick) is recorded. The responses of the mink were recorded as fearful (moves away from stick and/or hides in nest box), aggressive (attacks and bites the stick) or inquisitive (smells and explores the stick).
Foxes were tested using a feeding test, where a portion of feed was placed in the cage by an observer. The observer remained standing in front of the cage for 30 seconds. The fox was recorded as either taking the food while the observer was standing by the cage (non-fearful) or taking the food once the observer has left (fearful). The position of the fox in the cage was also recorded.
This investigation concluded that only 37 % of the mink and 40 % of the foxes can be considered tame, with the rest being classified as fearful.
Failed to reach tameness goals
In 2003, the Parliament gave the fur farming industry ten years in which to increase the level of tameness and decrease the fear levels in mink and foxes. These results show that this goal has not been reached. If fact, tameness appears to have decreased drastically in the last ten years, despite intensive breeding for tamer animals. In 2004, the Norwegian Fur Breeders' Association investigated the issue, and found that 80 % of the mink were trusting towards human beings.
- The fact that the fur farming industry has not managed to secure tame animals within the ten-year deadline, shows that the industry does not take animal welfare seriously. They are not capable of spending enough time and resources, says scientific manager Marianne Kulø in the Norwegian Animal Protection Alliance.
Hovland, A. L. og Rød, A. S. (Norwegian University of Life Sciences), Lynnekartlegging av norske pelsdyr 2011: resultater fra gjennomføring av fôrtesten på rev og pinnetesten på mink, Report to the Norwegian Fur Breeders' Association, finished 29 June 2012.