During the last 1.5 years, we have learnt that mink intensively bred for fur are highly susceptible to the SARS-CoV-2 and can act as a reservoir for the coronavirus. COVID-19 outbreaks on more than 400 fur farms in Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden, Spain, Greece, Italy, France, Lithuania, Poland and Latvia have confirmed this. On mink farms, animals are confined in close proximity to one another in small wire cages, they suffer from stress and a poor quality of welfare. Often humans first infect the animals, but the virus is also transmissible back to humans – including the risk of new, even more dangerous virus mutations developing in captive mink.
End the cruel and deadly fur trade before it causes the next pandemic
To mitigate such risks leading institutions such as the FAO, OIE, WHO or EFSA have released biosecurity recommendations for fur farms. These rules include, for example, that farm workers should always wear masks and/or proper face protection when operating near the animals. Also, measures should be taken to prevent escaped mink but also dogs and cats from roaming freely on farms as there is a potential risk of the virus spreading between the animals. Evidence from a recent investigation at a mink farm in Poland shows that all these basic biosecurity rules are widely ignored.
Recent investigations from other EU mink farms in Latvia and Finland have documented similar breaches of basic biosecurity recommendations, therefore an immediate end of the fur industry is the way forward to protect the health of humans and animals.
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For FOUR PAWS, this is further proof that that an immediate EU-wide end of the fur industry is the only proper response to protect the wellbeing of animals as well as human health!