Dutch to permanently ban mink farming from April 2021
The ban on mink farming in the Netherlands will be accelerated after the animal stocks of 41 mink farms in the country were cleared in the past six months due to coronavirus infections. The ban will go into effect for the nearly 120 operating mink farms on March 21, 2021, more than 2.5 years faster than the government had planned
A law against breeding and farming the mammals was passed in 2013, with a ten-year transition period set to expire on January 1, 2024. The government has earmarked 180 million euros to buy out the mink farms over the next six months, government sources told newspaper AD and broadcaster NOS.
The plan will be announced on Friday by Agriculture Minister Carola Schouten, the newspaper said. The Cabinet decided against the immediate culling of all mink on all farms because the transmission risk from the animals to human is low, AD reported. Still, a handful of such cases were discovered in the Netherlands, which led to changes in rules regarding visiting the farms, and an early warning system was implemented to discover infected mink more quickly.
These rules were expected to be tightened up even further, the newspaper said. A deeper investigation into whether or not the farms were complying with the rules was likely, amid questions by a D66 Member of Parliament who suggested mink farmers could potentially have an infection spread among their animals and earn a lucrative subsidy from the government when their animals are ordered to be culled.
The MP, Tjeerd de Groot, suggested the possibility amid speculation that the market price of mink pelts would plummet later this year. The owners of farms whose stocks are culled receive a payout based on the 2019 market rate.
Since March, the mink dam on 41 farms and their litters have been culled after an infection of the SARS-CoV-2 novel coronavirus was found. The latest farm was earlier this week in De Morte, Gemert-Bakel, had 4,000 dam which were being bred. The infection was discovered after symptoms of Covid-19 were found among the animals, the government said in a statement.