COVID and mink: coronavirus outbreak in mink farms traced back to August
Eurogroup for Animals' member LAV discovered that at least two samples from a single mink breeding farm, taken back in August, tested positive for COVID-19. LAV reports that they received this information after several insisting appeals and requests to the Ministry of Health, the Technical Scientific Committee, the Regions and the IZS (Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale) of Lombardy and Emilia Romagna. LAV denounces that the situation has been handled very irresponsibly by the health authorities, as they failed to inform the public and take action after receiving news about the SARS-CoV-2 infections as early as in August. Despite knowing that minks, just like people, can be asymptomatic, the Ministry of Health (and the Regions) continued to limit themselves to clinical observation-only, instead of setting up extensive screenings with diagnostic tests in all mink farms across Italy.
Mink farms, besides causing serious suffering to animals, are coronavirus reservoirs. Not all of them have been tested accordingly, exposing public health to a serious risk. Other European countries have already banned these farms, so they do not run this additional risk of spreading the coronavirus. LAV, therefore, launched a petition to renew their appeal to the Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and the Minister of Health Roberto Speranza to promptly ban these farms, for the wellbeing of both animals and the citizens of Italy.