The mink farming industry has been the subject of ethical concern for years, but it’s now becoming a public health risk in the Netherlands. The coronavirus was originally detected in the Netherlands on 2 mink farms back in April. However, it has now been reported that minks at 41 different fur farms have been testing positive for COVID-19, resulting in 2 workers contracting the virus.
Previous targets had been set by the Dutch government to make mink farms illegal by 2024, but the court voted on the 23rd of June this year to urgently bring the ban forward as a result of the public health threat. Now, the government has ruled on the permanent closure of all mink fur farms by March, 2021. Farms that have been unaffected by the virus are allowed to finish operations by November, but have been ordered not to restock afterwards.
According to a report by Human Society International, around 2 million mink have already been killed since April in an attempt to stop the spread of the virus. The organisation’s public affairs director, Dr Joanna Swabe, has said of the government’s recent ruling: “This signals the end of suffering for millions of animals confined to small wire cages on fur farms in the Netherlands. We commend the government on its decision to end this incredibly cruel and completely unnecessary industry and protect citizens. With 41 fur farms and an estimated 2 million mink now having been infected, the risk of keeping these virus reservoirs operating, is far too great.”