Profile of Canadian mink farmer Catherine Moores
Catherine Moores runs New Mink Inc. mink farm in Nova Scotia with 10,000 breeders. As a girl, Catherine opposed all animal uses except for cats and dogs as pets, but her perspective changed after she began studying to become a vet at Nova Scotia Agricultural College.
“I started working more with farmers, visiting farms, and actually seeing their relationship with the animals,” she recalls. “I began to realize that these people [are] working with the animals because they have an appreciation for the animals and respect for the animals, and they actually enjoy working with the animals, because if they didn’t, I don’t think that they would do it. So when I was offered this job, I decided to take it.”
Catherine explains the importance of diet for farmed mink. “The majority of our feed ingredients are sourced through local fish plants. Now we feed probably between 60 and 70% fish by-products, and this is providing employment to the local fish processors. And the diet changes through every year depending on the cycle that the mink is going through at the time. We are constantly balancing the diets. We send a feed sample away every week to make sure that our fat and protein levels are exactly where we want them.”
In addition to a high-quality diet, “I think that we provide the mink with a very good quality of life. We provide protection from the elements. We provide them with their own comfort zones, their own territories. … We provide them with fresh bedding, warm nest boxes. We do health checks three times a week. We walk through the barns and physically look at all the animals and treat any sick ones accordingly.”
“People always comment when they walk on our farm how content the mink seem,” says Catherine. “So I think we have provided them a good-quality life. I love my job, I do. It is the very last thing that I thought I would be doing today, but I really do love it.”