Dutch Parliament Votes to Shut Down All 128 Mink Fur Farms
Fur farms in the Netherlands will permanently close ahead of schedule. | image: Flickr/The Animal Day
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Dutch fur farms that shut down after COVID-19 spread through the nation’s mink population will not reopen, parliament ruled yesterday.

After infections were discovered at more than a dozen of the nation’s mink farms, the government ordered culling of hundreds of thousands of mink. “All mink breeding farms where there is an infection will be cleared, and farms where there are no infections won’t be,” spokeswoman Frederique Hermie told the Guardian.

According to Sentient Media, the latest data show nearly 600,000 mink from 13 farms have been killed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. More culling is expected to follow.

In April, authorities identified the first cases of mink infected with the virus. They were infected by their handlers. At least two humans who’ve come in contact with the animals have contracted the deadly virus. They’re currently the only known cases of animal-to-human transmission, according to the World Health Organization.

The Netherlands was already moving to close its fur farms by the beginning of 2024. But COVID has accelerated the deadline. Exact closure dates have not been announced.

Despite the mass cullings, Dutch MPs “overwhelmingly voted in favour of shutting down the estimated 128 remaining mink farms in the Netherlands following the outbreak of Covid-19,” the Humane Society International said in a statement.

Politicians “voted in favour of the early closure of farms with compensation to be paid to fur farmers to end the practice earlier than the (original) phase out date of 31 December 2023,” it added.

California became the first state to ban the sale of new fur products.

Fur Around the World

The Netherlands has long been one of the world’s top mink fur producers. In 2018, the Netherlands farmed more than 4.5 million mink.

Despite efforts like the EU’s Welfur program that monitors the welfare of animals farmed for their fur, animal fur has been falling out of fashion in recent years. Earlier this year People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals retired its long standing “Fur Is Dead” campaign. It declared victory as major retailers, fashion designers and labels pulled fur from their stores and collections. California banned the sale of fur last year.

“We are calling for the 24 countries around the world that still allow mink farming to very rapidly evaluate the situation and evidence coming out of the Netherlands,” Clair Bass, the executive director of the Humane Society International told the Guardian.

China, Denmark, Finland, and Poland lead the world in fur production. Approximately 100 million animals including mink, fox, raccoon, and dogs, are killed every year for their fur.