Investigations into Italian mink farms have found that animals spend their short, miserable lives inside wire cages, with no access to grass or water to swim in. Many are left with severe injuries, and some are 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 into a box and gassed to death.
These fur farms are putting public health in jeopardy, too. When it comes to the risk of spreading disease, they’re no different from 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 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 that workers are believed to have contracted a strain of 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 Netherlands. Such bans are already in place in Austria, the Czech Republic, Israel, the UK, and several other countries.
A meeting of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council was held in June 2021, and the European Commission was called on to end the breeding of animals for the production of fur in the European Union. Italy’s Minister of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies Stefano Patuanelli showed support for the ban, declaring that “the breeding of animals for fur is no longer justifiable and Italy will give its maximum support to reach the European ban on this form of breeding”. PETA is celebrating this progress and has written to Italian government officials, thanking them for taking the right steps forward.
We must urge the Italian government to stay true to its word by ending all fur farming in Italy now – minks can’t wait any longer.
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 over the past 30 years, the number of fur farms in Italy decreased from 125 to six.