US House passes sweeping ban on mink farming

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Washington, 04 Feb. 10, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — In voting to approve the America COMPETES Act today, the U.S. House of Representatives included a provision banning mink farming across the United States, signaling its disapproval of the an industry that harms and kills animals for their pelts, exports them to China for a handful of elite consumers, and poses a threat of spreading SARS-CoV-2 to people in the homeland.

The amendment was led by U.S. Representatives Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., Nancy Mace, RS.C., and Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., and co-sponsored by Representatives Jim Cooper, D-Tenn., Andy Levin , D-Mich., and Joe Neguse, D-Colo. This is a follow-up to HR 4310, introduced by those same lawmakers and two dozen others from both parties, including Reps. Mike McCaul, R-Texas, Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., Lance Gooden, R- Texas and Vern Buchanan. , R-Fla.

“There’s no good keeping aggressive, solitary wild mink in cages on factory farms, killing them for a product no one needs, and then shipping their exteriors to luxury consumers in China” , said Wayne Pacelle, president of Animal Wellness Action and the Center for a Humane Economy. “The case against mink farming is made when it is understood that a new variant of one or more of these factory farms can disrupt our economy and put millions of Americans at risk.”

The amendment was approved as part of a larger package of amendments, including a separate measure to clamp down on live wildlife markets globally because of the infectious disease risks they also pose .

“Industrial mink farming threatens public health, especially as we continue to fight the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Rep. DeLauro. “The evidence is clear: mink farms can incubate and spread new variants of COVID-19 and pose a unique threat of spreading the pandemic. At the same time, with virtually no domestic market, the US mink industry has been in steady decline for years. Now is the time for this legislation to become law, and I urge all of my colleagues to continue to support this bipartisan effort.

“One of the many lessons we learned early in the COVID-19 pandemic is the real danger of disease transmission from animals to humans. In fact, if COVID-19 could design its perfect habitat for mutation and transmission, it would closely resemble a mink farm, where thousands of mink are kept in small, often unsanitary and overcrowded cages, for days on end. , Rep. Mace said. “Today, working together on both sides of the aisle, we have the chance to end the abusive and inhumane practice of mink farming that puts the health of Americans at risk.”

There have been around 6.1 million mink infected with SARS-CoV-2, with around 675,000 mink dead from the virus. This contrasts with perhaps a few hundred COVID-19 infections among all other non-human captive animals, including big cats, domestic dogs and cats, gorillas and ferrets.

“This caged confinement environment, where mink are crammed together in the thousands, maximizes the risk of intraspecific aggression, viral infections and mutations,” observed Jim Keen, DVM, Ph.D., director of veterinary science for the Center for a Humane Economy and former infectious disease specialist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. “No amount of good animal husbandry can prevent this kind of aggression and the outbreak of disease among these captive, immune-compromised wild animals.”

Mink farms have already spawned three variants – in Denmark, France and the United States. As such, they are a proven source of multiple new viral variants that may compromise human vaccine efficacy or increase human virus virulence or transmissibility. Mink are one of the best candidates as the “missing link” between bats, which most scientists consider the original source of COVID, and humans according to the World Health Organization.

The USDA reported 2.7 million pelts sold in 2019 and 1.4 million mink pelts sold in 2020. According to a review by Animal Wellness Action, there are only 60 farms operating in the United States. There is no domestic market for mink, and it is an export. only commodity market, with 80 percent of skins sold in China.

“As someone who grew up in and around mink farms, I can attest to the extreme aggressiveness of these creatures in their frustration with the miserable conditions of the sterile conditions of factory farms,” said Scott Beckstead, director of campaigns for the Center for a Humane Economy.

The amendment was supported by Animal Wellness Action, Animal Wellness Foundation, Center for a Humane Economy, Michelson Center for Public Policy, SPCA International, and dozens of other organizations from the Idaho Humane Society to Iowa. Federation of Humane Societies via Oregon. League of Conservation Voters.

Animal Wellness Action (AWA) is a Washington, DC-based 501(c)(4) organization whose mission is to help animals by promoting legal standards prohibiting cruelty. We champion causes that alleviate the suffering of pets, farm animals and wildlife. We advocate for policies to end dog and cockfighting and other forms of malicious cruelty and to combat factory farming and other systemic forms of animal exploitation. To prevent cruelty, we encourage good public policies and work to enforce those policies. To enact good laws, we need to elect good legislators, and that’s why we remind voters which candidates care about our problems and which don’t. We believe that helping animals helps us all.

The Animal Wellness Foundation (AWF) is a private, charitable organization based in Los Angeles whose mission is to help animals by making veterinary care available to everyone with a pet, regardless of economic ability. . We organize rescue efforts and medical services for dogs and cats in need and help homeless animals find a loving caregiver. We believe in bringing veterinarians to the front lines of the animal welfare movement; promote responsible pet ownership; and vaccination of animals against infectious diseases such as distemper. We also support policies that prevent animal cruelty and alleviate suffering. We believe that helping animals helps us all.

The Center for a Humane Economy (CHE) is a non-profit organization that aims to influence business conduct to forge a humane economic order. The first organization of its kind in the animal welfare movement, the Center encourages businesses to honor their social responsibilities in a culture where consumers, investors and other key stakeholders abhor cruelty and environmental degradation and embrace innovation as a means to eliminate both .

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