Animal Welfare Research Needs for Mink

Following is a list of research priorities gaps identified during the mink Code development process. Click here to visit the mink Code web page for the SC report and to view the full Code.

List compiled: May 2013 

Accommodations, Housing and Handling Facilities

  • Cage size/space per animal
  • Minimum height for cages
  • Cage density - number of animals per pen after weaning/separation; floor area & cage volume/mink
  • Size, configuration and design of the typical mink cage 
  • Group housing
  • Nest box design and materials
  • Nest box access - which stages/ages
  • Some portion of floor to be solid (i.e. non-wire)

Feed and Water

  • Restricted feeding for pre-breeding conditioning

Health and Welfare Management

  • Identifying practices that encourage the mink to be relaxed versus exited so animals are quieter and lug their kits less
  • Behaviour/physiological welfare - environmental enrichment
  • Feelings, natural functions, pain and preference - considerations and indicators
  • Stereotypies
  • Environmental enrichment
  • Fatty liver/stress syndrome (management factors)
  • Should some vaccines be mandatory?
  • Disease management strategies - vaccination, nutrition, early diagnosis and treatment
  • Health management programs (record keeping, understanding what is there, vaccination programs, Aleutian disease management/control/prevention, etc.)


  • Humane euthanasia
  • Killing procedures (more a human safety issue but welfare during killing needs to be well documented)
  • Euthanasia - is electrical stunning followed by cervical dislocation acceptable/humane for mink?
  • Euthanasia - is it better to introduce 1 mink and allow to collapse before introducing another, or to put in a group (number TBD) and allow them to expire as a group?
  • Euthanasia criteria for sick animals
  • Euthanasia; bottled gas vs. Engine source CO

Husbandry Practices

  • Weaning dates 
  • Implant/Melatonin use

Hygiene and Sanitation

  • Biosecurity
  • Environmental impacts


  • Handling and transportation