The mink in the US died after an outbreak at a fur farm in Taylor County, Wisconsin, over the last month, according to fresh data from the state’s Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP).
While DATCP spokesperson Kevin Hoffman said the disease has not spread to other mink farming facilities, the agency will, however, withhold any information on the other farms affected until the investigation into the outbreak is complete.
“One of the promising developments up there right now is the rate at which the mink are dying has slowed to normal rates,” Hoffman said as cited by local media on Thursday. “A farm might experience loss due to illness that they might typically see during this time of the year, like pneumonia for example. So that’s what they’re experiencing right now.”
The outbreak was originally detected early in October, with DATCP insisting it has affected minks only, with no cases of animal-to-human transmission observed. Fur farms in Utah and Michigan have also experienced Covid-19 outbreaks over the past few weeks, with more than 10,000 mink succumbing to the disease.
If not contained, however, the outbreaks might spell disaster for the US fur industry and unpredictable consequences for the human population, as recent developments in Denmark show.
The world’s largest mink fur-producing country announced on Wednesday that it plans to cull its entire stock of more than 15 million animals to minimize the risk of them re-transmitting the new coronavirus to humans after some 12 people contracted the infection from the animals.
Animal advocacy group Humane Society International said the Denmark cull was a welfare “tragedy” but also an opportunity to “pivot away from this cruel and dying industry.”
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