National Farm-Level Mink Biosecurity Standard
Section 1: Access Management

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The disease literature documents that the movement of people, wildlife, pets, and other disease vectors, in addition to equipment and vehicles, are important routes for bringing microbial pathogens onto a premises or into a shed. Many diseases, including Aleutian disease, mink virus enteritis, mink distemper, ringworm, and others are carried onto farms by disease-carrying vectors. Controlling access to the site and to the areas where the mink are housed is an important biosecurity principle.

1.1 Biosecure Zones – Keep Disease Out

1.1.1 Target Outcome

Biosecure zones and controlled access points are established to control access to the premises, mink sheds, and other critical production areas.

Biosecure zones allow the separation and protection of farm areas from people, materials, animals, products, and equipment that may pose a risk to mink health due to contamination from or infection with disease pathogens.

Identifying and implementing biosecurity measures that are specific to outer and inner zones ensures that multiple protective measures must be breached before microbial pathogens gain access to the most critical area of the site – where mink are housed. It also minimizes the risk of disease pathogens spreading from the mink housing and the mortality/manure storage areas to the rest of the site and off the farm.

Employ a three-zone concept for the farm site/premises:

1. Determine Boundaries of the Site – The Premises

The premises refers to the entire property on which the mink are raised and is interchangeable with the term farm site.

2. Establish a Controlled Access Zone

The controlled access zone (CAZ) refers to the area of land and buildings constituting the mink production area of the premises that is surrounded by a security fence and only accessible through a securable controlled access point. A CAZ restricts the access of visitors, vehicles, equipment, and animals (including wildlife) at the perimeter of the mink production area. The CAZ may include mink sheds/housing areas, the feed kitchen, feed storage areas, supply storage, and waste storage (manure, compost, and carcass storage). The CAZ should exclude personal residences to minimize unnecessary access by family and visitors.

3. Establish a Restricted Access Zone

A restricted access zone (RAZ) controls access to the mink sheds or areas where mink are housed and should include the feed kitchen. Consider this area a fortress where only essential personnel may enter, wearing clean biosecure clothing. Including the feed kitchen in the RAZ minimizes access to and possible contamination of feed ingredients and feed. It is practical in that it allows free movement within the zone when feeding; if the feed kitchen is located outside the RAZ, additional biosecurity measures are required to move between the mink and feed kitchen.

Figure 1 presents an example that highlights the concepts in implementing premises, CAZ, and RAZ biosecurity zones on the premises. The Producer Guide includes additional site plan examples and potential approaches to implement biosecurity zones for more complex operations that integrate feed manufacturing and pelting processes.

figure1 Biosecurity zones for mink premises, CAZ, and RAZ
Flowchart - Biosecurity zones for mink premises. Description follows.
Description for the graphic illustrating biosecurity zones for Mink Premises, CAZ and RAZ


Light Brown = Transition Area

Light Orange = Controlled Access Point Gate

Yellow = Controlled Access Zone (CAZ)

Purple = Controlled Access Point Door

Red stop sign = No Entry Signage

Dark Orange = Restricted Access Zone (RAZ)

Dark Brown = Door

Blue line = Security Fence

The premises show a yellow CAZ area surrounded by security fencing with controlled access point gates at each end leading to designated parking and a laneway at one end and a secondary laneway at the other end. The CAZ area contains a dark orange RAZ area surrounded by security fencing with two mink sheds inside with doors at each end. An office is accessible from the CAZ area and the designated parking area through controlled access point doors. Manure, Waste Storage room is located between the RAZ area and the secondary laneway. Feed kitchen, transition area and pelting area are located at one end of the RAZ with doors to both the RAZ and CAZ areas next to bedding storage and workshop rooms with door entry through the CAZ area.

The sample site plan (Figure 1) identifies three biosecurity zones for the premises (i.e.: outside the CAZ), the CAZ and the RAZ. The two mink sheds (indicated by gray rectangles) in the center of the diagram are contained within a RAZ (represented by a red and black filled rectangle). A CAZ (represented by a yellow and black hatch-marked rectangle surrounds the RAZ. A transition area (identified by a brown square) located in the CAZ abuts the RAZ. A laneway leads from the road on the far left of the diagram, enters the premises and leads to a parking area and an office, all within in the premises zone. A secondary laneway on the far right of the diagram exits the CAZ. Key features include:

  1. primary and secondary access points where the secondary access point / laneway is used for waste removal and mink shipments, while the primary access point is used for everything else;
  2. parking for staff and visitors, which is located outside the CAZ;
  3. an office where visitors sign in for possible entry to the transition area and the CAZ;
  4. security fencing of the CAZ and the RAZ;
  5. controlled access points and transition areas that meet biosecurity protocols to enter the CAZ and/or the RAZ; and
  6. doors, with biosecurity signage (red octagons), used as barriers to the CAZ and the RAZ, for managing access at the controlled access points by staff and visitors.

1.1.2 Target Outcome

Biosecure zones and controlled access points are easily identified.

Compliance with biosecurity measures is enhanced by ensuring staff and visitors can easily identify what areas of the premises they can and cannot access and what measures are required to enter biosecure areas.

1.2 Entry, Movement, and Exit Protocols – Control

1.2.1 Target Outcome

Staff and visitors understand and respect site biosecure zones and comply with procedures for movement.

Biosecure zones are used to create areas where the spread of microbial pathogens can be reduced by employing biosecurity measures. The zones are only effective at minimizing the transmission of infectious pathogens if measures to prevent this transmission are applied when moving between and within zones.

1.2.2 Target Outcome

Biosecurity procedures are required for (and complied to by) staff and visitors entering and exiting the CAZ and RAZ.

Procedures are necessary to reduce the transmission of microbial pathogens by staff and visitors into and out of the mink production and housing areas on clothing, footwear, and the person. This may be accomplished by

  • wearing clean outer clothing that is dedicated to the zone or wearing disposable cover-ups/ coveralls that are specific to that zone;
  • wearing clean boots that are dedicated to the zone, or rubber boots that can be easily cleaned and disinfected between zones, or boot covers; and
  • sanitizing hands.

These measures are extremely important to prevent the accidental transmission of disease agents.

1.2.3 Target Outcome

Staff and visitors wear appropriate personal protective biosecurity clothing/equipment and practise strict biosecurity procedures when performing duties which either cross multiple biosecure zones and/or involve significant exposure to microbial pathogens.

Developing and implementing appropriate biosecurity standard operating procedures (SOPs) is critical when performing tasks that involve direct contact with materials with an increased risk of exposure to microbial pathogens such as the following:

  • manure
  • mink that are found dead
  • mink carcasses and fat from pelting

The protocols to follow and the protective biosecurity equipment to use must prevent contamination of the individual and the production area, and avoid direct or indirect transmission of microbial pathogens to live animals.

1.2.4 Target Outcome

Controlled access points (CAPs) have the necessary equipment and materials to implement biosecurity procedures.

The requirements established for entry and exit at each zone dictate the equipment and materials that must be provided for staff and visitors to comply. This may include, but is not limited to, clean boots and coveralls, boot cleaning, and disinfecting materials, hand sanitizers, and paper towels.

Access Management Key Points: Biosecure Zones and Movement Protocols

Keep mink secure from strangers, visitors, and wildlife by controlling access to the sheds and farm and by establishing protective zones and implementing movement controls:

  1. Control entry to the mink housing and other production facilities on the farm site.
  2. Use barriers and signage or other readily visible indicators to alert visitors that they require the producer's permission to enter.
  3. Use dedicated on-farm clothes (i.e. not worn off the farm) to improve biosecurity.
  4. Provide visitors with protective clothing; at a minimum, supply boot covers and clean outerwear for visitors to put on before entering the RAZ and to take off when leaving the RAZ.
  5. Provide and require the use of equipment and supplies to wash or sanitize hands at the entrance of sheds.
  6. Provide and maintain an area at the entry of the CAZ and RAZ with the necessary equipment and supplies to clean and disinfect boots (i.e. a transition area with a boot wash).
  7. Ensure the entrance to the farm site and / or CAZ can be closed in the event the farm needs to be locked down.
  8. Locate designated parking for staff and visitors outside the CAZ.
  9. Install and maintain a properly constructed security fence that is designed to prevent the escape of mink and access by wildlife, feral animals, and escaped farmed mink.
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