ALL MINK fur farms in the Netherlands are to be permanently closed by March 2021 following the outbreak of Covid-19 at over 40 farms.

The first cases of coronavirus were reported on fur farms at the end of April and in the months that followed, an estimated two million mink have been preventatively culled.

At least 66 employees of mink farms and their family members have been infected with the virus, according to a study into the outbreaks at 16 mink farms in the Netherlands up to the beginning of June.

Researchers used genome sequencing to track the spread of Covid-19 between mink and humans at the first 16 infected farms, finding that in a number of cases, the virus was spread from mink to humans.

The mink fur trade was banned in the Netherlands in 2013, with a deadline for a complete phase out by 2024. Following the outbreak of the virus at a number of farms, the Dutch Government made the decision to fast-track their permanent closure by March 2021.

Senior director of public affairs for Humane Society International/Europe, Dr Joanna Swabe said: “We commend the government on its decision to end this incredibly cruel and completely unnecessary industry and protect citizens. With 41 fur farms and an estimated two million mink now having been infected, the risk of keeping these virus reservoirs operating is far too great.

“Over the past weeks, the Dutch government has failed to act as infection numbers rose,” she continued. “There has never been a more compelling time for the Netherlands to shut down this industry for good.”