Minks look out of a cage at a fur farm in the village of Litusovo, northeast of Minsk, Belarus. Some mink farmers are concerned about COVID-19 spread through their mink. There have been outbreaks in mink farms in Europe and millions of mink had to be culled. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Sergei Grits.

Minks look out of a cage at a fur farm in the village of Litusovo, northeast of Minsk, Belarus. Some mink farmers are concerned about COVID-19 spread through their mink. There have been outbreaks in mink farms in Europe and millions of mink had to be culled. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Sergei Grits.

Fur farms put public at risk: Kelowna animal rights activst on COVID-19 outbreak

“The fur industry is violent, unnecessary, and a huge threat to public health.”

Kelowna animal rights activist Amy Soranno is speaking up after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared at a mink farm in B.C.’s Fraser Valley.

She said the outbreak was not a surprise, given the crowded and filthy conditions in factory farms and the fact that other countries have also seen outbreaks in mink farms.

“Infectious disease experts have expressed the dangers of intensively breeding and raising animals, and how this promotes the spread and mutation of viruses,” she said.

“So, this disease outbreak should come as no surprise.”

Soranno said the enhanced biosecurity at B.C. mink farms were not enough, especially given the habitat the mink have to live in. She described the farms as crowded, where the animals are “in tiny wire cages amongst mountain layers of their own excrement”, creating “an unavoidable petri dish for disease.”

“The fur farming industry is putting the public at risk by remaining in production… there is nothing essential about raising animals in repulsive conditions just to skin them for outdated fashion statements.”

“The fur industry is violent, unnecessary, and a huge threat to public health,” Soranno added.

Fraser Health confirmed eight people at the farm tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday, Dec. 6. The health authority is now screening other employees.

The farm has been ordered to restrict the transport of its animals, products and goods under the BC Animal Health Act.

The BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) has said a small number of animals, including domestic cats, lions, tigers, dogs and minks can be infected by COVID-19. Soranno said all factory farms are sources of potential virus outbreaks and must therefore be shut down for good as a matter of animal rights and public safety.

“The time is long overdue to shut down fur farms and all factory farms for good to prevent the needless suffering of countless animals and to protect the public from COVID-19 and future diseases.”

READ: COVID-19 outbreak declared at B.C. mink farm


Twila Amato
Video journalist, Black Press Okanagan
Email me at twila.amato@blackpress.ca
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