Anti-animal ag groups propose mink buy-out to help stop COVID-19

Anti-animal agriculture activists now want Wisconsin’s Governor and the USDA to shut down mink producers to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Scott Beckstead is a former Idaho mink producer who leads the Center for a Humane Economy and Animal Wellness Action campaign.  He says mink are potentially the COVID-19 super spreader and proposes a government buy-out program for mink farms.  Beckstead says the virus has killed tens of thousands of mink, and two people got the virus from mink. 

Beckstead says the business model for mink no longer works, as interest in real fur from retailers and customers has fallen five-fold in the last eight years, and he says the U.S. has become a mink factory for China.

The animal welfare groups want Wisconsin’s Governor Tony Evers to quarantine all mink farms in the state, halt the breeding program, and coordinate with USDA for a long-term solution, using COVID-19 as their reason for doing so.  Beckstead says France and the Netherlands have similar programs.

So far, Governor Evers has not commented on the proposal.

Addendum: The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection issued a statement Wednesday to Brownfield in response to Beckstead’s call for shutting down mink farms, saying, “We’re not currently considering changes to mink farming operations. Our Division of Animal Health continues working closely with DHS, DNR, USDA, CDC, and local public health officials to manage the farm in Taylor County affected by SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19). Our Animal Health staff have also worked with our Division of Agricultural Development and Wisconsin veterinarians to distribute USDA’s SARS-CoV-2 guidance for mink farmers: We’ll continue working with our partners at the local, state, and federal levels to identify any other mink farms at high risk for COVID-19.”

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