A blood-thirsty mink is believed to have destroyed half of Jae and Sandra Woodlock’s fowl population in one week, leaving the Aldergrove hobby farmers without any recourse.
“On Oct. 5 the mink killed all my babies, poor little things,” said Sandra.
The Woodlocks live in the area around the 24000-block of 20 Avenue, beside a large mink farm.
“The mink doesn’t even eat them, just drinks their blood and leaves them,” she said.
On the prior Wednesday, the mink had killed 30 adult ducks in one night, the Woodlocks said. The couple is so fearful, they have now taken to watching over their ducks and locking them up as much as possible.
They know it is a dark coloured mink because the animal now comes around in the daytime, said Sandra. They have set up traps, but it doesn’t take the bait.
They believe mink have escaped from the neighbouring farm.
“We are out thousands of dollars and now have to find ways to safely get rid of our dead ducks. There is no recourse, no one to pay for the loss and no way of stopping this mink,” said Jae.
He says his neighbour with the mink farm denies it is his minks that have gotten loose.
Fur farms are regulated and licensed through the Ministry of Agriculture and through the Right to Farm Act.
The Woodlocks called the Patti Dale Animal Shelter because it deals with other animals, like dogs, attacking farm animals.
“Every few years we get a couple of calls about mink killing fowl. They can decimate a chicken coop very quickly,” said shelter manager Sean Baker.
“While we don’t deal with mink complaints, I would recommend that no person try to handle minks. They have very sharp teeth.”
The Township bylaw department also referred the Woodlocks to the province, and did say they could shoot the mink, but would have to follow strict regulations.
At least a couple of hundred mink escaped from a mink farm in West Abbotsford on Oct. 3, from a farm near Lefeuvre Road and Downes Road. The farmer was able to account for the majority of the 2,000 mink on the farm, but at least a couple of hundred remain unaccounted for.
The owner told his neighbours because he was concerned that the mink may target the poultry farms in the area.
According to a 2004 Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries document, all 15 of B.C.’s mink farms are in the Fraser Valley, many in the Aldergrove area. Together, they produce 250,000 mink pelts per year, which are used for fur coats.
There is still a market for fur in parts of Europe, Asia and Russia.
“We may lose every duck and there is nothing we can do to stop it and no restitution for all our loss,” said Jae.
They also have chickens that they raise and sell at auction as well as selling the birds’ eggs.
“Every mink at a mink farm should be required to be tagged or have a colour dye dot put on them to identify they come from a farm,” said Sandra.
They have no way of proving that the killer mink is their neighbour’s, only that it matches the colour.
In B.C., fur farm minks are mostly black or dark brown. Calls by Black Press to the Ministry of Agriculture branch that deals with fur farms were not returned.
The Woodlocks are devastated and frustrated and wonder if there are others in Langley suffering the same situation.
“Maybe it’s time more be done to regulate these mink farms,” said Jae.
He said he is willing to start a petition if there is interest.
In August 2008, animal rights activists claimed responsibility for releasing approximately 6,000 mink from a fur farm in Aldergrove.
In a message on an animal rights website, activists said the animals were freed near a park. The bodies of numerous mink were later found scattered along nearby 8 Avenue. The farm owners had managed to recover all but 500 of the animals.