Reading Time: 2 minutes 'Fur farms have the potential to act as reservoirs of SARS-CoV-2...' Credit: Pippa Fowles / No 10 Downing Street
Reading Time: 2 minutes

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is being urged to lead world leaders towards a global ban on fur farming. 

67 infectious disease experts have written to the politician ahead of the G7 summit.

The event brings together the heads of governments from a slew of wealthy democracies such as Canada and the US. It will be hosted in Cornwall, England, at the end of this week. 

Global fur farming ban

The letter comes from virologists, epidemiologists, infectious disease specialists, veterinarians, and animal behaviorists from 16 countries. Moreover, it is coordinated by animal protection NGO Humane Society International (HSI).

“It’s clear fur farms have the potential to act as reservoirs of SARS-CoV-2…” reads the letter.

“The intensive breeding conditions typical on fur farms – animals unnaturally crowded together, poor hygiene, stress, injuries and low genetic diversity – are ideal for the creation and spread of novel pathogens. 

“Severe animal welfare deficiencies are inherent to factory fur farming. The trade creates the potential for the many tens of millions of animals on fur farms to act as immediate, intermediate, or amplifier hosts for viral pathogens. 

“To risk jeopardising our ability to control and end this or future global coronavirus pandemics, for the sake of fur fashion production, would seem imprudent. 

“We therefore support the call by HSI for a permanent global end to the breeding, keeping and killing of animals for the purposes of fur production, and the sale of fur.”

COVID-19 outbreaks

The letter follows more than 400 outbreaks of SARS-CoV-2 on mink farms across Europe, the USA, and Canada. 

Some governments, such as the Netherlands and Hungary, have taken decisive action to stop mink fur farming in their jurisdictions.

Moreover, 14 countries globally have banned fur farming completely. However, species susceptible to COVID-19 are still being reared for their fur across the world.

‘A stark warning to governments’

Claire Bass is the executive director of HSI UK. In a statement sent to PBN, she said: “Virologists, veterinarians and disease experts from around the world have provided a stark warning to governments about the public health risks of exploiting wild animals in unsanitary, overcrowded and inhumane fur factory farms, simply for the sake of frivolous fashion. 

“Not only is fur farming inherently cruel to animals. But, the potential for zoonotic disease spread, and for mink fur farms, in particular, to act as reservoirs for coronaviruses is another compelling reason for governments to shut down the fur industry for good.

“We can no longer ignore that fur farms make for a perfect petri dish for pandemics. 

Bass then concluded: “As the first country in the world to ban fur farming two decades ago… The UK is in a unique position to urge world leaders to take decisive action with a global ban.”

Read the full letter here

Liam Giliver

Liam is the former Deputy Editor of Plant Based News. He has written for The Independent, Huffington Post, Attitude Magazine, and more. He is also the author of 'We're Worried About Him'.