Public health concerns should prompt permanent closure of all mink farms in Europe
The recent and quite upsetting development with mink farms in Denmark prompted the Danish Government to announce that all the 15 million minks reared in more than 1,000 farms will be culled.
The decision has been taken after discovering that 12 people in the Jutland region, after entering in contact with minks, have been infected with a genetically changed form of coronavirus.
This indicates that new strands of coronavirus are developing in Danish mink farms which could potentially undermine the international efforts to combat the virus.
The State Serum Institute, the official Danish authority for pandemics and infectious diseases, warned that a mutation could interfere with the effectiveness of future vaccines.
The problem, though, is not limited to Denmark. The virus is spreading in Swedish and Italian farms too. So far only the Netherlands reacted putting forward a ban on mink farming, previously scheduled for 2024.
Captive minks could also infect wild animals, if, for example, an infected mink escapes a farm. Once this virus gets established in wild animals, we would have a very hard time getting rid of it.
The current circumstances are showing that fur farming is not only cruel and unethical, but that it also constitutes a real risk for the health of European citizens. That’s why we call on the European Commission to urge Member States to follow the Dutch example: closing permanently all mink farms. As millions of animals would unfortunately be culled, we also call on the EC to monitor that this is done humanely, and according to the requirements of the EU legislation.
Commented Reineke Hameleers, CEO, Eurogroup for Animals