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Covid Mink

09/07/2020

EGG-NEWS has previously reported on the emergence of COVID-19 among  mink farms in Holland, Spain, and in the U.S.  The mink industry in Holland was scheduled to cease operations at the beginning of 2024 following passage of the Fur Animal Husbandry Act.  Given the extent of outbreaks and the possible effect on the community at large, the Ministries of Agriculture and Health have jointly ordered mink farms to end breeding programs by the end of March 2021.  The joint decision was made on the recommendations of the National Zoonotic Outbreak Management Team.

 

The decision to phase out mink farming was accompanied by a government  statement, “Despite the limited risk to public health at the moment it is desirable to stop the spread of the virus via mink farming.  It is undesirable that the virus continues to circulate on mink farms as there is a risk that in the long term this will lead to infections of employees and of people outside these farms”. There is also the danger that SARS-CoV-2 virus circulating in a non-human species held at high density may undergo mutations producing a more pathogenic variant.

Dutch PETA Protester
"Fur-animal Farms are Incubators of Disease"

Quarantined Mink Farm Holland

Since the recognition of COVID-19 in mink in July, one third of mink farms in Holland have been infected, especially in the high density provinces of Brabant and Limburg.  To date, 1.5 million mink have been culled on 43 farms.

 

The question arises as to what action state veterinary authorities and USDA-APHIS will take with regard to COVID-19 infection among U.S. mink farms.