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Sweden stops mink farming to stop the spread of COVID-19

The Swedish government announced today that it will end mink fur farming across the country for the period of 2021 to stop the spread of COVID-19. The government took the move after the COVID-19 virus was found in 13 mink farms in Sweden, which currently operate around 40 such farms and produced around 500,000 mink skins in 2020. So far, the Swedish government has said it does not intend to kill mink already living on the farms.

Animal rights group Humane Society International (HSI), which works to end fur farming around the world, welcomes the suspension but urges Sweden to consider an outright ban to prevent the spread of future zoonotic diseases. “While we applaud the Swedish government for the decision to end mink farming, we urge them to continue closing and closing this cruel and dangerous industry,” said Joanna Swabe, Senior Director of Public Affairs at HSI Europe. “Restricting millions of animals to small wire cages for fur production not only causes terrible suffering and deprivation, but scientists have concluded that they represent a serious reservoir for SARS-CoV-2 and therefore a very real risk to the public Could represent health. The Swedish authorities have also recognized that the biosecurity measures taken so far have proven to be insufficient. “

Mink fur farming and COVID-19
Sweden is the youngest country to take action to stop the spread of COVID-19 in its mink fur farms. In 2020, the COVID-19 virus (and mutations of it) was found on mink fur farms in a number of countries including the Netherlands, Denmark, the United States, Canada, Italy, Greece, Lithuania, France and Spain. Both the Netherlands and Denmark killed millions of minks to stop the spread of the mutated COVID-19 virus – which could prove harmful to future vaccines. In June, the Dutch government agreed to close all remaining mink fur farms – an estimated 128 farms – in the Netherlands to halt the spread of COVID-19 and put in place an existing ban that should come into effect in 2024. Similarly, in November Hungary preventively banned the cultivation of mink, ferret (polecat), fox and coypu – but not chinchillas – to control the possible spread of zoonoses. France also announced that it would end mink fur farming by 2025.

“We’re calling everyone [European Union] Member States where fur farming continues to close this sector for good, ”said Swabe. “As long as the exploitation of animals for fur is tolerated, the potential for reservoirs of animal and human pathogens remains. Sweden has taken an important step but now needs to prioritize human and animal welfare over the frivolous fur fashion industry by making fur history on a permanent basis. “

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