The fur industry has been condemned for pursuing a COVID-19 vaccination scheme for factory farmed mink in Finland, diverting key resources needed in the development of vaccines needed to save human lives. The fur trade intends to expand the program around Europe as soon as possible. The background to this is the major COVID outbreak in Europe and North America on mink fur farms last year, with the virus jumping between mink and humans. Indeed, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) warned that the spread of SARS-CoV-2 in mink farms could lead to new variants. Diverting much needed resources to vaccinate mink is unethical and unacceptable. Only a fur farming ban can eliminate this risk.
European media reported that the ‘process of developing the vaccine has been challenging, with a tight schedule only adding to the pressure… FurcoVac utilises the same raw materials that are needed to produce the vaccines used in humans.’
Indeed Jussi Peura, the FIFUR project’s research director, went on the record declaring, “There were challenges in manufacturing the vaccines and acquiring the raw materials, as human vaccines were also being produced at the same time and they largely require the same raw materials that we use”.
Respect for Animals believes it is outrageous that vital raw materials face being diverted from human vaccines in order to prolong a cruel industry that farms undomesticated animals in small, overcrowded cages, all for a product nobody really needs: fur.
In response to the news, scientists supported our call for a European-wide fur farming ban, which is the only option for animal welfare and reducing the risk of this and future pandemics:
“Having these mink farms is a big risk because it makes it much more difficult to manage the epidemic and creates such big reservoirs of susceptible hosts,” Francois Balloux said, a geneticist with University College London and co-author of a paper on Covid-19 transmission in minks.
- Denmark is to extend ban on breeding mink for a further year
Denmark is set to extend a ban on mink farming until 2023, the country’s agriculture minister has announced.
The entire population of mink in Denmark was culled in November over fears that the animals could transmit a mutated form of the coronavirus to humans.
Health authorities had recommended that the ban be extended, as mink farms continued to present “a risk to human health of unknown magnitude.”
This is another damning blow for a fur industry which is facing major financial difficulties, as more people recognise that fur is disastrous for animal welfare, bad for the environment and a risk to human health.