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Coronavirus: Dutch government shutters mink industry for good following outbreaks

·2 min read
Mink animal
Other European countries have also had to cull their mink animals, following similar outbreaks on farms. Photo: Getty

The Dutch government has permanently closed the doors on the country’s mink industry after the coronavirus has been found on nearly 70 farms since the start of the pandemic.

Farming minister Carola Schouten told MPs on Friday, that just four of the Netherlands’ 110 fur farms still have mink — and they are expected to close next week.

Other mink farms have already closed down because the season has ended. Ordinarily, fur farmers gas and skin the animals in November, but will now close before the next breeding season starts in 2021.

In August, the Dutch government moved up the closure date of the mink industry.

It ordered more than 100 Dutch producers — with around 800,000 mother animals — to close three years early by March 2021. The decision cost the government €180m ($218m, £162m).

While the details of a compensation package are still being hashed out, Schouten did say that farmers will be given a bridging income up to 2024.

READ MORE: Dutch fishing industry weighs up cost of no-deal Brexit

Other European countries have also had to cull their mink animals, following similar outbreaks on farms.

In November, Denmark — EU’s largest exporter of mink pelts — announced it would cull millions of animals in the country’s 1,139 farms after COVID-19 was transmitted to farmers.

The outbreak in Denmark, prompted the UK to ban foreign entry to visitors from Denmark. At the time, the Nordic country also announced strict lockdown measures in the north of Denmark where most farms were.

Likewise, in July Spain culled 93,000 animals at a farm in the Aragon region following an outbreak.

Meanwhile, France, which exported around €120m worth of fur last year, has decided to outlaw mink farming from 2025.

According to the UN Comtrade Database, the EU’s one of the world’s main sources of fur clothing, led by Denmark, Finland, Italy, Poland, Greece and the Netherlands. With annual exports worth hundreds of millions of euros.

Watch: What we know about the mink coronavirus strain