The Netherlands had already intended to shut down its entire mink breeding industry by 2024, but the government has now decided to bring forward the closures to next year following Covid-19 outbreaks on 41 fur farms.
Holland has long been one of the world’s biggest ‘producers’ of mink fur, but now around 5 million fewer animals will annually suffer in tiny cages and a cruel death. Sadly around 2 million young mink have been gassed in recent months as animals were slaughtered on infected farms.
The early closure of Dutch mink farms is a major boost for the anti-fur campaign, good news for animals and the culmination of many years of work by our Fur Free Alliance colleagues, Bont voor Dieren.
Coronavirus has also been found in fur farmed mink and workers in Denmark and other countries. In Spain, an outbreak at a fur farm led to the slaughter of almost 100,000 mink after around 90 per cent of the animals were found to be infected, along with seven staff members. A similar story has now occurred in Utah, United States.
Scientists are now investigating whether mink can not only contract the disease from people, but also spread them back to other humans, after a number of farm employees in multiple countries contracted the virus.
The mink cases have “big implications … and [are] worthy of everyone’s attention,” Utah’s state veterinarian has declared. “There are still big, unanswered questions regarding how readily this virus can move from mink into human beings”.
The Dutch government reported multiple cases of transmission from mink to farm staff, and several staffers on the Utah farms who came in contact with the mink have confirmed COVID-19. Researchers are now trying to determine whether these workers gave the virus to the mink, or vice versa. The two Utah farms are under 30-day quarantines, as US authorities investigate further.