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Pressure to ban fur builds as coronavirus infects mink farms

Tom Shearsmith
28 April 2020

Pressure for a worldwide fur ban has increased, as mink on Dutch fur farms have confirmed cases of coronavirus.

Mink on two fur farms with more than 20,000 animals in the Netherlands have been found to be infected with COVID-19, after exhibiting breathing difficulties. The Dutch Agricultural Ministry said in a statement Sunday that it is assumed the mink contracted the virus from farm employees.

Although the Ministry believes that the infected mink pose a “negligible” risk to human health, the farms are banned from moving the minks, with people are advised not to go within 400 meters of the farms.

The creation of new mink farms being banned in the Netherlands in 2013, and existing mink fur farms have until 2024 to close.

Claire Bass, Executive Director of Humane Society UK, which leads the #FurFreeBritain campaign for a UK fur sales ban, said: “Fur factory farms are breeding grounds for infectious diseases, confining thousands of wild animals in unsanitary, crowded and stressful conditions, with precious little veterinary care.

"In addition to the animal suffering that’s an unavoidable fact of the fur trade, the potential for zoonotic disease spread is another compelling reason for all fashion companies to go fur-free, and for governments to take action to shut down this dirty trade.

"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."

Fur farming has been banned across the UK since 2003. Fur farming, however, continues to persist in some EU Member States with Denmark, Finland and Poland being the biggest producers.

HSUK’s #FurFreeBritain campaign is calling for the UK to become the first country in the world to ban fur sales.

An increasing number of fashion designers and retailers are dropping fur cruelty. In the last few years alone Prada, Gucci, Versace, Michael Kors, Jimmy Choo, Burberry and other high-profile brands have announced fur-free policies.

In addition, online fashion retail platforms Net-A-Porter and Farfetch have introduced no-fur policies.

Last week Canada Goose announced it will end the purchasing of new fur.

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