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.
Rather than following suit and ending fur farming for good, the Italian government has ordered that all minks on fur farms where an animal has tested positive for the novel coronavirus be killed. It has also ordered a suspension on all mink farm activity until the end of February 2021. But this is not enough!
We must demand that the cages never be filled again and the farms be shut down forever.
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 seven.