The Danish government has controversially culled millions of mink from farms after a mutated strain of coronavirus was detected in the animals. The cull has now been paused after authorities questioned the legality of such a drastic action. Now, in the US, anti-fur activists are seizing on this tragedy to once again call for unnecessary restrictions on mink farming. Fur Commission USA is releasing the statements below.
While a handful of farms in the US have detected the COVID-19 virus, there is no evidence to date that any humans have been infected by those mink. The Centers for Disease Control says: “At this time, there is no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading the virus that causes COVID-19.” The CDC notes that people spread the COVID-19 virus to mink, and that mink can spread the virus to other mink. However, “the risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to people is considered to be low,” according to the CDC.
Fur Commission is working with several respected pharmacological companies to develop a vaccine, with testing set to begin shortly. Importantly, the World Health Organization has said new strains of coronavirus are not expected to reduce the effectiveness of vaccines.
Fur farms in the US follow strict biosecurity protocols for the benefit of both humans and animals. Farmers restrict access to the facilities, screen employees daily, use personal protective equipment, practice social distancing for workers, and disinfect the equipment and facilities. Workers can also be segregated so that if an issue is found in one part of the farm, it can be quarantined and risk of spreading is reduced.
Fur Commission USA Executive Director Michael Whelan issued the following statement: “Animal welfare is a farmer’s entire livelihood. We are taking the necessary steps, as recommended by the CDC, the USDA, and the respective State Veterinarians, to protect workers and animals from this virus. Animal rights campaigners are now shamelessly trying to exploit a tragic situation to once again push their misguided political agenda.”
Respected mink veterinarian Dr. Hugh Hildebrandt states “Farms operate under biosecurity protocols in normal circumstances and have heightened their controls during the pandemic. The risk to humans of getting coronavirus from animals, whether farmed animals or pets is minimal. The virus will continue to be studied by scientists globally.”