Andersson believes a cull is the safest option, however, for public health and animal welfare. “This is a tiny sector, we could easily live without it, given the risk of compromising a vaccine. We should be shutting down mink farms and culling all the animals. Sick animals are not being treated which is another mink welfare issue,” he said.
Poland and Finland are reported to be free of Covid-19 on mink farms, while in the Netherlands fur farming will effectively end this year. In Ireland, a tiny player in the mink sector, testing at the country’s three farms is reported to have begun already.
In the US, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention presentation last week said 11 mink farms had Covid-19 outbreaks. The most recent list on the US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service website shows outbreaks on mink farms in Utah, Wisconsin and Michigan.
The American Veterinary Medical Association said at least 8,000 minks have died of infection with Sars-CoV-2 on farms in Utah. And nearly 3,400 mink are reported to have died from the coronavirus at a mink farm in Wisconsin. It added that the infection seems to be deadlier among older minks.
A statement from US veterinary NGO the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association said the apparent rapid mutation of the virus in mink, and the lack of a cull, was both a public health and a welfare risk.