As with all farms, fur farms have an impact on the environment so it is in the farmers' best interest to follow sustainable and environmentally sound practices. Canadian farmers take their responsibilities seriously and adjust their activities accordingly. In order to maximize their environmental contributions and minimize their ecological footprints, farmers have implemented good farming practices as scientific knowledge and technology becomes available.
Fur farmers, as with all Canadian farmers, have environmental best management practices to follow and
must adhere to environmental laws and regulations.
If a farm is found to be out of compliance with environmental regulations the farmer must remedy the situation and is also liable for fines and penalties.
Requirements vary from province to province, but all farms including fur farms must meet the rules governing manure management and waste disposal, air and water quality, and other environmental farm practices.
In some provinces, fur farms must apply for an environmental permit to build or expand operations. This ensures that these farms meet the most current environmental requirements laid down by municipalities or the province.
Farmers also self-regulate their own environmental activities by completing farm assessments and developing Environmental Farm Plans. Attending ‘how to’ workshops as well as studying and applying best management practices is proving effective in making farms even more environmentally friendly. Although voluntary, there are financial incentives through environmental project grants that have made these programs highly successful since their introduction in the 1990’s.
Fur farming has environmental benefits, such as providing a use for thousands of tonnes of animal by-products from
human food production. Fur farmed animals are fed waste food purchased from fish and poultry processors and other
farming sectors. Feeding these by-products, which are not intended for human use, creates a market to help keep down
the actual cost of human food production and reduce the waste stream.
Since fur farming is not land dependent, fur farms can be located in areas unsuitable for other forms of farming: this makes productive use of marginal lands.
Raising fur animals is also suited to mixed farming since it demands the most from a farmer during the winter months when field crops require less attention. Straw from crops is used for bedding and to insulate cages, while the manure from ranched animals returns to the soil as fertilizer.
Nothing is wasted. Furs are used to produce natural products. Oils and fats are used in cosmetics and personal care products and like all farms, fur farms generate organic fertilizers that are used both commercially and on the farm.
Fur farmers are also beginning to explore the use of farm wastes as a source of bio-energy to power their own farms and beyond.
As a renewable resource and recycler, farmed fur is a sustainable method of production.