Animals in Italy need our help. The country has suspended fur farming amid COVID-19 outbreaks on mink farms. This is a great step forward, but we must urge the prime minister to shut down the industry permanently:
Fur farms have been hotspots for COVID-19 outbreaks in Italy, Canada, Denmark, France, Greece, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden, and the US.
When stressed animals are confined next to each other in filthy, unsanitary conditions, it’s no surprise that diseases spread easily. As minks are particularly susceptible to respiratory illnesses, mink farms around the world are dangerous breeding grounds for diseases including COVID-19. Indeed, a mutated version of the coronavirus originating in minks is posing a risk to the effectiveness of future vaccines.
For the sake of the animals who are suffering terribly and the humans whose lives are being put at risk by these festering cesspools, PETA is appealing to Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte to close the country’s remaining mink farms permanently. Will you send him a message, too?
Urge Italy to Ban Fur Farms
Around 200,000 minks a year are still imprisoned on Italy’s 13 remaining fur farms. It’s time to shut these facilities down.
Investigations into Italian mink farms have found that animals spend their short, miserable lives in wire cages, with no access to grass or water to swim in. Many were severely injured, and some were driven to self-mutilation or cannibalisation of their cagemates by the stress of captivity.
The minks are killed when they’re only about 6 months old – crammed by the dozens into a box and gassed to death.
These fur farms are putting public health at risk, too. When it comes to the risk of disease, they’re no different to the live-animal market in which the novel coronavirus is believed to have originated. It’s very easy for infectious diseases to spread on fur farms through the exchange of urine, excrement, pus, and blood. Minks with infections, sores, and festering, open wounds caused by the wire flooring they stand on are a common sight. Fur farmers and handlers are among those who most commonly suffer from the zoonotic bacterial disease tularaemia.
Following reports that minks tested positive for COVID-19 on fur farms in the Netherlands and workers are believed to have contracted the virus from the animals, the Dutch parliament voted by an overwhelming majority to bring forward the implementation of a fur-farming ban in the country. Such bans are already in place in Austria, the Czech Republic, Israel, the UK, and several other countries.
Italians know that fur belongs in the history books, not in our wardrobes. Over 90% of the country’s population is against fur farming; iconic Italian designer brands such as Armani, Gucci, Elisabetta Franchi, Prada, and Versace are all fur-free; and in the past 30 years, the number of fur farms in Italy decreased from 125 to 13.