Sweden is suspending mink fur farming throughout 2021 in the wake of COVID-19.
The announcement follows 13 separate outbreaks of the virus in the country’s mink farms.
Anti-fur group Humane Society International welcomed the news. However, it is now urging Sweden to end ‘the cruelty and public health risks by permanently ending fur farming’.
‘A real risk to public health’
Dr. Joanna Swabe is the senior director of public affairs for Humane Society International/Europe. In a statement sent to PBN, she said: “While we applaud the Swedish government for taking the decision to suspend mink farming, we urge it to go further and permanently shut down this cruel and dangerous industry for good.
“Confining millions of animals to small wire cages for fur production not only causes terrible suffering and deprivation. But, scientists have also concluded that they could represent a serious reservoir for SARS-CoV-2 and thus pose a very real risk to public health.
“The Swedish authorities have also recognized that the biosecurity measures taken so far have proved insufficient.”
‘Sweden has taken an important step’
Swabe also said HSI is calling on all Member States where fur farming persists to ‘shut down this sector for good’.
She then added: “For as long as the exploitation of animals for fur is tolerated, the potential for reservoirs of animal to human pathogens will persist.
“Sweden has taken an important step but must now prioritize human and animal welfare over the frivolous fur fashion industry by permanently making fur history.”
Mink fur farming
Many mink fur farms around the world have been hit by COVID-19, most notably Denmark.
Scientists have sinced warn the COVID-19 variant could spark a new pandemic.
Danish vaccine specialist Professor Kåre Mølbak said: “There’s a risk that this mutated virus is so different from the others that we’d have to put new things in a vaccine and therefore [the mutation] would slam us all in the whole world back to the start.
“The worst-case scenario is that we would start off a new pandemic in Denmark.”