Minks Found To Be Infected With COVID-19 From Humans At Deplorable Fur Farms In The Netherlands; End Fur Farming!

Photos By: Humane Society International

Two fur farms in the Netherlands have detected contaminations of COVID-19 after some of the minks displayed various symptoms, including respiratory problems.

According to a statement released yesterday by the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA), investigations have been launched to determine the source of the infections at the Gemert-Bakel and Laarbeek farms. Because some employees had symptoms of the coronavirus at both companies, it is believed that people infected the animals.

As per the statement, while previous research shows that ferrets and minks are susceptible to COVID-19 contamination, there are currently no indications that farm animals or pets spread COVID-19 to humans.

Minister Carola Schouten of Agriculture, Nature, and Food Quality has announced new measures that include a reporting obligation for mink farmers, veterinarians, and persons in research institutions. If there are respiratory problems and increased mortality in minks, they must be reported to NVWA.

Photo by: HSI

To prevent possible spread of the virus to other farms, both animals and manure must not leave an infected farm. Since other animals in livestock farming do not appear to be susceptible to the virus, a notification requirement is now only imposed for minks.

As noted in the statement, it is important to know how the disease develops on the infected farms. This knowledge can be used to better understand the disease and its course in animals and humans. Therefore, samples are collected from sick and healthy animals. These will be used for further investigation.

While it is not expected that the virus will spread over longer distances, air and dust samples are also taken in the vicinity of the company as a precaution. These are being examined to determine whether the virus can be detected in these areas as well. The Lower House will be informed as soon as more information is available about the outcome of this investigation.

Photo By: HSI

According to the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), based on current knowledge about COVID-19, the mink companies do not pose a risk of further spread to humans. Human to animal contamination is possible, but the impact of this mink contamination on human health is currently negligible. Human to human contamination is the driving force behind the current corona pandemic.

There is currently no reason to believe that the virus spreads in these mink farms in any other way than it does between humans. As a precautionary measure, RIVM advises against cycling or walking within a radius of approximately 400 meters around the infected mink farm until the results of the research on the air and dust samples are known. It was decided to close the public road in this radius around the company for pedestrians and cyclists until the results of the research are known. The mayors of both municipalities will soon take this measure.

“One of the lessons we must learn from COVID-19 is that we cannot carry on pushing animals to the limit of their endurance without serious consequences for both animal and human health,” said Claire Bass, Executive Director of Humane Society International (HSI) /UK, who leads the #FurFreeBritain campaign for a UK fur sales ban. “We urge the Netherlands and other countries in the process of phasing out fur farming to speed up their industry closures, and countries yet to commit to bans, including China and Finland, to do so now.”

The Dutch government banned new mink farms in 2013, and required that existing ones must close by 2024.

The sooner the better before any more people or animals are threatened by this already deplorable industry.

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