Washington, DC†The Animal Welfare Institute, in partnership with the Humane Society of the United States, the Humane Society Legislative Fund, Animal Defenders International, and Born Free USA, filed a petition the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today to list American minks involved in the trade as a noxious species under the Lacey Act. This designation would prohibit the importation, transportation and acquisition by the US of live and dead minks, including parts containing fur. A harmful entry on the list would reduce the significant risks farmed mink pose to humans and wildlife and help combat the global health crisis of COVID-19.
Mink fur farms pack animals in crowded, squalid environments that create an ideal environment for pathogens to spread, mutate and circulate between and between species. Minks are highly susceptible to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and outbreaks have been confirmed on at least 17 fur farms in multiple US states, with more than 20,000 minks having died from the disease.
Around the world, the spread of COVID-19 among farmed minks has been even more destructive. There have been outbreaks on more than 400 mink farms across the world Europe and Canadaand millions of minks have either died or been killed from the disease to prevent its spread. Last week, British Columbia announced that it would permanently close all mink farms in the province due to the transmission risk of COVID-19.
Mink can also return the virus to humans, and such cases have been confirmed in Denmark, Poland and the Netherlands. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that people living on a farm in Michigan were infected with a SARS-CoV-2 mutation found in mink, suggesting that mink-to-human transmission of unique variants has occurred in the United States. The threat of mink farms or infected wild mink populations becoming reservoirs for the virus could jeopardize efforts to contain the pandemic.
In addition, the trade in mink and their parts can cause serious ecological damage. Mink regularly escape captivity and threaten the viability of wild mink populations due to the risk of disease transmission, hybridization and competition for resources. In December, two separate incidents were confirmed in Utah and Oregon where minks in the wild tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. Other animal species are also susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 and are therefore at risk if they come into contact with infected captive or escaped minks.
“Overwhelming evidence points to mink fur farms as breeding grounds of SARS-CoV-2,” said Cathy Liss, president of AWI. “The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has a duty to address the apparent danger farmed minks pose to citizens and wildlife to effectively combat the current pandemic and mitigate future outbreaks.”
“It’s almost impossible to imagine a case where the dangers outweigh the benefits as much as in mink breeding,” said Sara Amundson, president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund. Mink fur farms have become a clear and present danger and the federal protection afforded by a ‘harmful’ designation is the fastest first step the federal government can take to ensure our own safety and that of wildlife at risk from COVID-19. to run, to guarantee. †
“COVID-19 has been detected on hundreds of mink fur farms in Europe and North America, and cases have been recorded of people contracting the virus from mink farms,” said Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States. “It is time for the United States to take a stand against the dangers inherent in mink farming, and we implore the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to seriously consider the risk the fur industry poses to all of us.”
Jan Creamer, president of Animal Defenders International, said: “ADI studies have exposed the suffering of animals bred for fur. mink suffering mentally and emotionally on fur farms. They live in bare cages, stuffed next to each other in unsanitary conditions, and their immune systems are compromised by stress. These intensive livestock farms can easily give rise to new mutations of COVID-19.”
Angela Grimes, CEO of Born Free USA, added: “COVID-19 has had a devastating effect worldwide and is still out of control after almost two years. We have seen evidence that minks can carry and transmit COVID and to continue to ignore this is simply irresponsible. Born Free USA is proud to stand alongside our partners in this petition calling on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to formally recognize the zoonotic disease risk of farmed mink and act quickly to reduce that risk. ”
The Institute for Animal Welfare †awionline.org) is a non-profit charitable organization founded in 1951 and dedicated to reducing animal suffering caused by humans. AWI engages policymakers, scientists, industry and the public to achieve better treatment of animals everywhere – in the lab, on the farm, in commerce, at home and in the wild. follow us on facebook† Twitter† and Instagram for updates and other important animal protection news.
Animal Defenders International is active worldwide to end the suffering of animals in captivity and to protect wild animals and their environment. We research, produce evidence and reports, educate and raise awareness, and conduct large-scale captures of wild animals in captivity in collaboration with governments. follow us on facebook† Instagramand Twitter for more information about our campaigns and how you can help.
Born free USA works to ensure that all wild animals, whether in captivity or in the wild, are treated with compassion and respect and are able to live their lives according to their needs. We oppose the exploitation of captive wild animals and campaign to keep them where they belong: in the wild. The Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary is one of the largest in the United States and provides permanent shelter for monkeys rehomed from labs or rescued from zoos and private property. Visit bornfreeusa.org learn more.
Humane Society Legislative Fund works to pass animal conservation laws at the state and federal levels, to educate the public on animal conservation issues, and to support humane candidates for office. Founded in 2004, HSLF is listed under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code as a separate lobbying company of the Humane Society of the United States. Visit us at hslf.orgread our blog on hslf.org/blog and follow us facebook and Twitterr.
Founded in 1954, the Humane Society of the United States fight the great battles to end the suffering for all animals. Together with millions of supporters, we take on puppy mills, factory farms, trophy hunts, animal testing and other cruel industries. With our subsidiaries, we rescue and care for tens of thousands of animals every year through the work of our animal rescue team and other hands-on animal care services. We fight all forms of animal cruelty to realize the vision behind our name: A humane society. Read more about our work on humanesociety.org† Subscribe to Kitty Block’s blog, A humane world† Follow the HSUS Media Relations Department at: Twitter† Read the award-winning All animals magazine. Listen to the Humane Voices Podcast†