Sweden bans mink breeding for 2021 over coronavirus concerns

Grey mink biting cage bars at a fur farm, animal news
Mink biting cage bars at a fur farm, credit: Jo-Anne McArthur / #MakeFurHistory

Sweden announced on Wednesday it would ban the breeding of minks for the rest of the year after the novel coronavirus was detected at mink farms around the country. The virus was confirmed at 13 out of the around 30 mink farms around the country.

Sweden’s National Veterinary Institute said evidence from Denmark and the Netherlands showed that it was difficult to stop the spreading of the virus in mink populations, even when safety measures were applied.

“Under the present conditions, we consider it inappropriate from an infection control perspective to increase the number of minks in the country,” Ann Lindberg, director of Sweden’s National Veterinary Institute, said in a statement.

Unlike neighboring Denmark, Sweden decided not to mass kill all the animals but instead just banned the breeding of new litters in spring.

The government allows farmers to keep their breeding animals in small cages so they can continue breeding and killing the animals for the fur industry in 2022.

If any babies are born accidentally, they will need to be killed, the Swedish Board of Agriculture said in a statement.

Rural Affairs Minister Jennie Nilsson noted that Sweden has a “relatively small fur business”. Last year, around 550,000 minks were murdered in Sweden for their fur and 90,0000 were kept for breeding.

Mink have a great need for hunting, swimming and diving in water. In the fur industry, they’re kept in small cages from the moment they’re born till they die. They don’t spend even a minute in nature.

The animals become so stressed over their unnatural life in a cage at a fur farm that many develop compulsive behaviors and hurt themselves or their children in frustration. 

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