Mink in a cage at a fur farm

70,000 Animals to Be Killed in Finland

Announcement of Finnish Food Authority to prevent the spread of the bird flu


Helsinki/Vienna, 2 August 2023 – It is estimated that around 70,000 animals, including 30,000 minks and 40,000 foxes, will be culled to prevent the spread of avian influenza, commonly known as bird flu across Finland.

Yesterday, the Finnish Food Authority have announced that fur farms that have been affected by the current outbreak of avian influenza must cull all mink that have been infected by the disease. Avian influenza has been detected on twenty fur farms across Finland since mid-July.

According to the World Organisation for Animal Health, by the end of 2022, sixty-seven countries across five continents had reported highly pathogenic avian influenza outbreaks.

FOUR PAWS, the global animal welfare organisation, have called the culling of 70,000 animals “wholly avoidable and a needless tragedy”.

“70,000 animals are to be unnecessarily killed, it is quite unfathomable after COVID-19 this cruel practice has been allowed to continue. Since 2020, 450 mink farms in the EU reported COVID-19 outbreaks amongst their animals and about 20 million mink had to be culled to protect human health. The twenty fur farms in Finland again prove serious zoonotic risks and therefore the industry needs to be shut down in the whole EU.

Thomas Pietsch, FOUR PAWS Head of Wild Animals in Entertainment and Textiles

“Currently, 19 EU Member States have already totally or partially banned fur farming on grounds of animal welfare and public health and the news in Finland only highlights the need to change the law ensuring all EU member states do not continue this cruel practice.

“Although the industry is declining, Finland is still a major fur producing country in Europe with more than 500 farms for mink, foxes and raccoon-dogs.  With such a high number of fur farms, this was avoidable and a needless tragedy. Fur farming does not belong in a modern society or a modern economy.”

Pietsch concluded, “What we are seeing across Europe and the world are ongoing outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza and COVID-19 on fur farms. This serious matter needs a global aligned response to tackle the zoonotic risks before a more dangerous and highly contagious variant develops.”

In June of this year the final count of validated signatures for the Fur Free Europe European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI), which aims to achieve an EU-wide ban on keeping and killing of animals for the sole purpose of fur production, was confirmed at an impressive 1,502,319 submitted to the European Commission.


The Finnish Food Authorities statement: 


Artic foxes at a fur farm

1,502,319 signatures to ban fur in the EU

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FOUR PAWS is the global animal welfare organisation for animals under direct human influence, which reveals suffering, rescues animals in need and protects them. Founded in 1988 in Vienna by Heli Dungler and friends, the organisation advocates for a world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy and understanding. The sustainable campaigns and projects of FOUR PAWS focus on companion animals including stray dogs and cats, farm animals and wild animals – such as bears, big cats and orangutans – kept in inappropriate conditions as well as in disaster and conflict zones. With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, the UK, the USA and Vietnam as well as sanctuaries for rescued animals in eleven countries, FOUR PAWS provides rapid help and long-term solutions. www.four-paws.org

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