The Welfare of Farmed Mink (Mustela Vison) in Relation to Housing and Management: A Review
Early research on farmed mink was predominantly concerned with increased productivity; however, in recent years there have been an increasing number of studies related to welfare. The biology of feral mink has also become better understood, and such knowledge can aid in the assessment of welfare on farms, or in the interpretation of problems related to captivity. This paper is a comprehensive review of research pertinent to the welfare of farmed American mink, Mustela vison, in relation to their housing and management. It indicates how housing conditions might be changed to improve welfare, and where our present knowledge is insufficient. Many significant aspects of mink behaviour in the wild, such as their lack of social contact, their tendency to travel long distances and use several den sites, and regular swimming and diving, are denied them in captivity. Farmed mink also show high levels of stereotypy, suggesting that their welfare is not good. Welfare may be improved by appropriate environmental enrichment and changes in the social environment of farmed mink. In general, studies aimed at improving housing conditions have been limited in scope and outlook.
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