The Dutch government will start killing over ten thousand animals at nine mink farms on Tuesday. The mink were going to be killed Friday, but animal welfare organizations Animal Rights and Bont voor Dieren objected and got the date moved to Tuesday. Monday there’ll be a court hearing to possibly stop the cull.
Agriculture minister Carola Schouten decided to have the animals murdered because some are infected with the novel coronavirus. She fears the virus might spread and infect humans, so according to her killing the ferret-like animals is the best option. If the virus is detected at other farms, the animals will also be eliminated.
Last month her ministry reported two cases where mink were believed to have transmitted the disease to humans, in what are the only animal-to-human cases on record since the global outbreak began in China.
“The experts have consistently indicated that mink corona is not a threat to public health,” said Animal Rights campaign leader Erwin Vermeulen. “The decision to cull now seems mainly based on populist motives.” People living around mink farms were scared they might get the virus, but it is still not 100% proven that the animals gave the virus to humans.
Vermeulen thinks that the minister decided to kill the small animals so people in the area would stop being worried, but their concerns are not based on facts. Animals should fear humans instead of the other way around since there are proven human-to-animal cases but no confirmed animal-to-human cases in this coronavirus pandemic.
Holland has 155 mink farms. Every year around 4 million pups are born. They’re kept in small steel cages until they’re big enough to be gassed or electrocuted so their skins can be ripped off for use in clothing.
Mink are wild animals. They’re excellent swimmers and divers and left in the wild they can become five years old. In farms, they never experience water or life outside their cage and are killed when they’re around six months.
The Animal Reader talked to Erwin Vermeulen right after he heard the date was moved from Friday to Tuesday.