British Columbia phasing out mink farms because of COVID-19 spread

British Columbia phasing out mink farms because of COVID-19 spread

VICTORIA — The British Columbia government says it is phasing out mink farming because the threat of COVID-19 transmission is too great.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says mink are a reservoir for the spread of COVID-19 to humans and vice versa.

Henry says the scientific data shows the risk of transmission on the farms will continue.

She says about a dozen workers on the farms have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and many mink have also tested positive in three farms where the virus has been found.

Agriculture Minister Lana Popham says there is now a permanent ban on breeding mink on the farm and mink operations at the nine farms in B.C. must end by 2025.

Henry said there are about 318,000 mink on the farms and many of them will be used for pelts before the phase out deadline.

B.C. placed a moratorium on new mink farms and capped existing operations at their current animal populations in July after more mink tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19.

There have been COVID-19 outbreaks in mink on at least three B.C. farms since last December and one farm remains under quarantine, while two others are under quarantine measures that limit their operations.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 5, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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