Rome, 20 October 2021 – The Fur Free Alliance handed over more than 880,000 signatures to Italy’s G20 delegation calling for urgent global action on fur farming at the upcoming G20 Summit in Rome later this month. In light of the spread of COVID-19 on hundreds of mink fur farms worldwide, the Alliance’s ‘Stop Deadly Fur’ petition urges world leaders to publicly acknowledge that fur farming must end, to protect public and animal health.
Mink are highly susceptible to COVID-19, which spreads rapidly in intensive fur farms that often breed many thousands of animals in cramped, unhygienic and stressful conditions. Since April 2020, over 440 mink fur farms have been affected with coronavirus in 12 countries in Europe and North-America, millions of mink have been infected and culled as a result, and numbers continue to rise.
Health authorities such as the World Health Organisation have warned mink fur farms are a COVID-19 risk to humans and wildlife. In addition, researchers have expressed concerns that mink-related variant viruses could reduce the efficacy of vaccines.’
Yet, despite this, most fur-producing countries have allowed intensive mink breeding operations to continue despite serious concerns about public health risks. The G20 Summit in Rome is the ideal opportunity for global leaders to acknowledge the risks posed by fur farming and to take urgent action to end the practice.
“The ongoing spread of COVID-19 on Mink farms clearly demonstrates that animal welfare must be an integral part of global pandemic prevention. Such high risk farming practices must be ended immediately to protect the health of animals and people.”
Thomas Pietsch, Head of Wild Animals in Entertainment and Textiles at FOUR PAWS
Joh Vinding, chairman of the Fur Free Alliance, says: “Coronavirus outbreaks on mink farms have exposed how the inhumane and unsustainable conditions on fur farms provide the ideal conditions for a virus to spread and mutate. We call on world leaders to acknowledge the pandemic disease risks involved with this appalling industry, and take urgent action to shut it down for good”.
The COVID-19 crisis further hammered an industry already in steep decline. In the past two decades, twenty countries have acted to curtail the farming of animals for their fur because it is cruel, outdated and unnecessary. To respond to consumer demands for ethical products, increasingly more designers are ditching the use of animal fur in their collections. The past few years have seen steep drops in pelt prices and stockpiles left unsold.
On behalf of supporters around the world, we call on all fur-producing countries to take urgent action to shut down this dying industry, and urge G20 leaders to publicly acknowledge that fur farming must end. Given the immense animal suffering on intensive fur farms and the very real threat of virus mutations and animal-to-human transmission, now is the time to put fur farming to the history books where it belongs.
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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