Monday 21 September 2020

MPs vote to close mink farms early, after coronavirus hits 17 farms

Mink on a fur farm. Photo: Dzīvnieku brīvība via Flickr

A majority of MPs voted earlier this week to close down the Dutch mink farming sector three years ahead of schedule, after coronavirus outbreaks on 17 farms in Brabant and Limburg.

Over 600,000 mink have been gassed since Covid-19 was first found on two farms at the heart of the mink farming industry in Brabant.

MPs voted in favour of a motion drawn up by Esther Ouwehand, from the pro-animal PvdD, to end mink farming and to ensure the farms which have been have been emptied because of Covid-19 cannot fill their cages again.

‘Mink farming is not only morally disgusting but a danger for human health,’ Ouwehand said. ‘And by stopping now, rather than in 2024, millions of mink will be spared a miserable life.’

There are some 200 mink farms in the Netherlands operated by 165 companies, and the Netherlands is the third biggest mink producer in the world behind Denmark and China. MPs agreed in 2013 to phase out the industry by the end of 2023.

A spokeswoman for farm minister Carola Schouten told DutchNews.nl  she is working on plans to help mink farmers stop close down their farms ahead of schedule, but did not comment on the parliamentary vote.

The vote in the lower house of parliament does not mean fur farming will actually be phased out early. The upper house of parliament will also have to vote in favour and it is unclear if there would be majority support.

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