Walt and Heather Freeman run Stonehenge Industries, a mink farm that has been in their family for generations. When Walt’s father passed away 5 years ago, he took over the responsibilities of the family-run business.
Recently the Kitchener Ontario Animal Liberation Alliance (KOALA) made allegations against Stonhenge Industries for cruelty and neglect towards their animals.
“I found all sorts of animal cruelty. The cages were covered in feces, sludge puddles filled with urine,” alleges Malcolm Klimowicz from KOALA.
Klimowicz admits he is basing these accusations off what he saw, after he broke into the Battersea area mink farm around 5 months ago.
Freeman, owner of Stonehenge Industries says, “I can only believe that anyone who would take 5 months to release such video has in some way tampered with it and made it look as bad as it possibly can before releasing it to the media.”
Meanwhile, the Ontario Fur Breeders Association is condemning break-ins at fur farms by animal rights activists. The OFBA takes animal welfare very seriously and works with veterinarians, and animal welfare experts in their farming activities.
“I’m willing to accept the responsibility of that. The government, the OSPCA and the industry have all failed to uphold the basic laws that protect the animals,” says Klimowicz.
Freeman’s farm was inspected by the OSPCA 8 years ago and there were no issues found – and he says they wouldn’t find any issues today either. Freeman is not surprised by the groups’ actions.
“They simply disagree with using animals for any reason. I have every confidence that if the OSPCA do inspect me or any other farms on that list, we’re all going to pass.”
Mink exports are worth almost $367 million annually, making Ontario the second largest mink-producing province in Canada. This fur trade adds more than $800 million to the Canadian economy each year.