Coronavirus spreads to 39th fur farm, no moves yet on total cull

Animal rights campaigners in The Hague. Photo:

Coronavirus has been found on three more mink farms, taking to the total to 39, the farm ministry said on Monday.

The latest infections mean coronavirus has now been identified on 35% of the country’s 110 fur farms.

The three new farms are home to a total of 22,500 breeding mink, all of which currently have between four to six pups. All the animals will now be gassed.

The outbreak was discovered via the routine testing of dead animals which was introduced after the first infection were identified earlier in the pandemic.

The government’s Outbreak Management Team is due to report soon on whether the mink on all Dutch fur farms should be culled in an effort to stop the spread of the virus. Mink are known to have passed the virus on to at least two farm workers.

The OMT in July advised the cabinet to clear all mink farms if new infections were found later than mid August, as has now happened.

Phased out

The fur industry is due to be phased out by 2024 but in June, MPs voted in favour of a ban on further mink breeding and called for funding to help farmers close down their businesses ahead of schedule. The ministry is still looking into this option.

The national statistics office CBS said last week that the number of mink farms in the Netherlands has fallen to 110 from 190 20 years ago. In total, they are home to 700,000 breeding animals plus pups.

So far, over 1.5 million mink have been killed because of the cull.

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