Will COVID-19 Eliminate the Mink Coat Industry?
Will the COVID-19 pandemic impact the future mink coat industry more than Kim Kardashian's transition to faux fur in 2019?
According to PageSix, the worldly fashion mogul announced she was ‘no longer wearing real fur coats to become more animal-friendly.’
Karadisan’s actions may have little industry impact when compared with mink-producing countries culling their herds as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Recently, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported on November 4, 2020, over 260 mink farms have had SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus outbreaks during 2020.
During a webinar, CDC staff reported six countries have confirmed SARS-CoV-2 outbreaks in mink farms, lead by the mink industry production leaders, Denmark, and the Netherlands.
And, genetic analysis from the fur farms in the Netherlands and Denmark showed that sick workers had introduced SARS CoV-2 to mink and, at least in the Netherlands, that mink had passed it back to workers,’ says the October 2020 statement posted by the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association.
This CDC presentation highlighted ‘the serious risk to the mink farm industry, with 11 outbreaks, and the potential risk to humans.’
The CDC’s staff’s presentation confirmed the mink-to-mink and human-to-mink transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus but continues to investigate the potential mink-to-human transmission risk.
The CDC team confirmed there ‘have not been any mink-to human virus transmissions in the USA during 2020.’
However, on November 10, the JPost reported 3 Israelis who recently returned from Denmark were confirmed as being infected with the coronavirus.
”We have the very real possibility that farmed mink could be a persistent source for the virus and continued infection in people, posing a significant public health threat”, stated Dr. Gail Hansen, a public health veterinarian who works primarily on public health policy and One Health issues.
On November 6, 2020, the World Health Organization issued a statement saying ‘It is has been following genetic changes in the COVID-19 virus since the start of the pandemic. And it is normal for viruses to mutate or change over time. And, when a virus moves from humans to animal populations such as mink, and back to humans, it can acquire unique mutations.
A recent list on the US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service website shows SARS-CoV-2 outbreaks on mink farms in Utah, Wisconsin, and Michigan.
The American Veterinary Medical Association said at least 8,000 minks have died of infection from SARS-CoV-2 on farms in Utah.
Dr. Dean Taylor, Utah’s state veterinarian, commented on October 28, 2020, that nine of the state’s 36 mink farms were quarantined because of confirmed infections. All of the mink deaths so far were from virus infections.
And nearly 3,400 mink were reported by local media to have died from the coronavirus at a mink farm in Wisconsin.
Historically, mink, foxes, and raccoons were susceptible to infection with the SARS-CoV-1 virus, and the new, different SARS-CoV-2 virus has had a particularly devastating impact on mink, who experience respiratory problems similar to people.
Moreover, during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, the CDC and the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported cases of domestic cats were confirmed with SARS-CoV-2 infections on April 22nd.
Following that report, the Institute of Agrifood Research and Technology reported during May 2020, the first cat in Spain was infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Within the USA, as of October 14, 2020, this table identifies cases of SAR-CoV-2 in animals that have been confirmed by USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories. Only the first animal of a species at a single facility, home, or location will be reported in the table.
And on August 24, 2020, the CDC’s website stated: ‘At this time, there is no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading the virus that causes COVID-19. Based on the limited information available to date, the risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to people is considered to be low.’
CoronavirusToday publishes research-based news.
- Steps to Prevent SARS-CoV-2 on Mink Farms - CDC webinar
- HSVMA Statement on Fur-Farmed Animals and the Risk of Disease
- Confirmed cases of SARS-CoV-2 in Animals in the United States
- SARS-CoV-2 kills thousands of minks in Utah
- More Than 3K Mink Dead From Coronavirus At Taylor County Mink Farm
- Israelis may be infected with new coronavirus strain from Denmark minks
- WHO: Mink-strain of COVID-19 virus in Denmark
- CDC: First Reported Cases of SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Companion Animals
- CDC: Animals and COVID-19