By Peter Young on Nov 27, 2013
After 263 jars of mink oil are tampered with, SC Johnson announces it will no
longer use mink oil in its products.
In a communique last week, an anonymous group took credit for tampering 263 jars
of Kiwi mink oil across the US, contaminating it with cyanic acid. The oil is
typically used to treat leather garments, which cyanic acid destroys.
Almost immediately, the parent company of Kiwi, SC Johnson, instructed retailers
to pull all Kiwi mink oil from the shelves. Soon after, SC Johnson announced it
would no longer be selling mink oil.
And the US fur industry has suffered another huge blow from activists.
What is mink oil?
This action and subsequent victory has put a spotlight on this little-known-of
revenue stream for fur farmers.
Mink oil is a byproduct of fur farm production. It is not believed any mink are
farmed for their oil alone.
Most mink oil in the US is used as a feed additive for (factory farmed) animals.
Other uses are in cosmetics, and as a leather treatment (as in Kiwi brand mink
1994 document published by Utah State University stated that "the Emulon
(sic) Company, located in Kenosha, Wisconsin, is
possibly the nation’s largest processor of mink oil." This company is the
possible vendor of mink oil to Kiwi, who is also based in Wisconsin.
This document also states:
"The management at Emulon (sic) indicated that the volume of their mink oil
business has been reduced substantially in recent years as a result of the
animal rights movement."
If Emulan is the vendor to Kiwi, they are likely to be Emulan's biggest
customer. If so, this tampering claim and subsequent announcement by SC Johnson
could very well cripple the country’s largest mink oil vendor.
Another huge blow for the fur industry
The Kiwi products with mink oil will no longer be sold and will be replaced with
the reformulated versions down the road, an SC Johnson spokesperson said.
With such small profit margins, the elimination of mink oil as a revenue stream
could bring many fur farms even closer to collapse.
"In a well coordinated action during the second week of November, 263 jars of
Kiwi mink oil sold in chain drug and big box stores were tampered with across
the United States.
Fortunately for us, Kiwi does not use tamper proof seals. Each jar was opened
and a small amount of cyanic acid added. They were then placed back on the
shelves in Wal-Mart, CVS, Walgreens, and other stores.
Mink oil is a leather care byproduct of one of the most cruel industries on this
planet. Mink on fur farms are crowded often six to a cage for life awaiting a
violent death in the pelting season, which comes in one of two ways, neck
breaking or gassing with a lethal dose of carbon monoxide.
Those who use this product will not die like the animals caged on fur farms.
The cyanic acid will cause a severe burn and eat through the leather products it
is applied to.
Kiwi’s involvement with the fur trade will no longer be tolerated."