August 28, 2020 – Our Wildlife Expert at FOUR PAWS, Thomas Pietsch, comments on the Dutch government’s announcement to shut down the mink farming industry in the country by March 2021.
"We applaud the decision of the Dutch government to shut down the Netherlands’ mink farming industry in its entirety by March 2021. After the shocking news that recently an estimated two million mink were killed due to COVID-19 outbreaks on 40 fur farms, there was mounting pressure on the government to take action and to shut down fur farming operations.
The Netherlands had intended to shut down its entire mink breeding industry by 2024. But, the decision to fast-forward these plans to early 2021 shows the Dutch government’s understanding for the urgency of an end of fur farming, not only from an animal welfare perspective, but also in favour of public health. We know now that mink fur farms can act as potential reservoirs for COVID-19 and other novel infectious zoonotic diseases. However, this is not only a problem affecting the Netherlands, but all countries that have not yet ended their practices of fur farming. It is estimated that 100 million animals are killed annually for their fur. It is especially apparent in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, that fur farms pose a potential risk for human as well as animal health.
We believe that the Netherlands’ decision will be a game-changer for global fur farming and demand that other countries follow. There’s never been a better time to bring about long-lasting change. The only way to spare millions of animals from a cruel fate in the fur industry and prevent the spreading of zoonotic diseases, is a global ban on all fur farming practices."