National Farm-Level Mink Biosecurity Standard
Who Should Use This Document And How?

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All mink producers are encouraged to use the National Farm-Level Mink Biosecurity Standard (The Standard). The Standard is presented in three sections: access management, animal health management, and operational management. The sections represent the foundations of an operating biosecurity system.

Each section is further divided into subsections and Target Outcomes. Each Target Outcome represents a biosecurity related goal that all mink producers should implement to protect their herds from the introduction and spread of microbial pathogens. The Target Outcomes are supported by basic biosecurity principles through which the Target Outcomes can be achieved. These principles are isolation, sanitation, traffic control and herd health management along with maintenance of the biosecurity program once it is in place.

With such a broad target industry audience, some of the biosecurity principles may be difficult for all producers to implement immediately. Producers should consider the ongoing implementation of additional biosecurity measures as mink operations are improved over time; for example, when facilities or equipment are replaced or refurbished.

Who Is This Standard For?

This Standard is for producers and for those who own, manage, or work with farmed mink in Canada. It is designed for on-farm application on farms of all types and sizes, and from all regions across Canada. Awareness of the Standard will enable service providers to the mink industry to conduct their business in a manner that supports the mink industry's interests in reducing disease. The Standard will also assist researchers, educators, program development specialists, and governments in their work to advance biosecurity in the mink sector.

What Is This Standard For?

The Standard sets out guidelines to help producers establish a comprehensive biosecurity program. Applying the Standard's principles and achieving the target outcomes is intended to reduce the prevalence of current and emerging infectious diseases and to contribute to increased productivity/cost-effectiveness and improved animal welfare.

The Standard is a public document, which will be available to all stakeholders, including trade and industry officials in other countries. In this context, it will be considered together with the range of other biosecurity tools used or being developed in Canada (e.g. border controls, surveillance, and disease control actions), as well as biosecurity standards for other Canadian commodities.

How Was The Standard Developed?

The Standard, while industry-driven, was a collaborative project that included producers, subject matter experts, advisory groups, and leaders in industry and government. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) began work with the Canadian mink industry in 2010, following the industry's submission of a draft document Principles of Biosecurity for Mink Farms for consideration as a National Biosecurity Standard. A project outline was prepared to develop the Standard in two phases. This work was facilitated by contractors and guided by three committees: 1) a mink biosecurity management committee, 2) a biosecurity advisory committee, and 3) a biosecurity technical advisory committee, all of which contributed ideas and comments. (Appendix B provides a list of the committees and committee members.)

The Standard's development involved

  • review of cost-benefit considerations of various biosecurity practices and protocols in the mink industry;
  • a gap analysis between existing mink biosecurity programming in North American and European Fur Breeder Association member countries;
  • a literature review and identification of cited biosecurity practices;
  • producer-level consultation on current biosecurity practices in Canada's mink industry, using a representative sample of Canadian producers;
  • consultation on a draft Standard, with a cross-section of stakeholder representatives and others engaged in the mink industry; and
  • development of communication materials to facilitate awareness and understanding of the Standard.

Format of the Standard for Canada's Mink Industry

The Standard is presented in three main sections that identify 39 target outcomes. These are outcome-based guidelines and indicate an objective or goal, while enabling producers to reach it by using the means most suited to the operation. Each section is supported by text that indicates the following:

  • what is meant by the section;
  • why the section is important to producers and/or the industry at large; and
  • how the section's objectives/target outcomes may be achieved.

What the Standard is and is not

The Mink Biosecurity Standard Is

  • voluntary
  • a set of risk-based management guidelines, addressing disease in a broad context, warranting thought and consideration in most mink operations across Canada
  • based upon principles, each of which can be achieved in a variety of ways
  • specific to mink and biosecurity practices used by the Canadian industry
  • practical and science-based, developed with consideration for the transmission of infectious pathogens across the range of mink production systems
  • a collaborative project, developed by producers, subject matter experts, advisory groups, and leaders in industry and government
  • cost effective, focusing upon practices and procedures that impact disease

The Mink Biosecurity Standard Is Not

  • mandatory
  • a list of must do(s), designed for a specific disease, to be achieved regardless of regional and operational differences
  • a prescriptive set of practices
  • taken from another sector or country, and re-designed for the Canadian mink farming sector
  • idealistic, developed without consideration for the feasibility of implementation
  • the work of one stakeholder
  • costly in terms of new equipment or infrastructure, or requiring significantly different ways of doing business

Supporting Information for Producers to Implement the Standard

A Producer Guide complements the Standard. Available as a separate document, the Producer Guide sets out additional information on how to apply the basic biosecurity principles, various measures that will assist the producer in achieving the target outcomes of the Standard, the benefits of applying the Standard, and where to find additional information.

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