Dutch mink farm worker catches coronavirus from animals

Photo of mink on a Canadian fur farm and inset image of coronavirus by CDC

Reuters has reported that Dutch Agriculture Minister Carola Schouten told parliament this week that a worker at a mink farm has coronavirus – and they got it from the animals.

“Outbreaks on mink farms in the Netherlands were first reported in April, when keepers noticed some animals having difficulty breathing, prompting a wider investigation,” reports the news agency.

The Fur-Bearers will continue to work with our European partners to learn more about this evolving situation; however, it does underscore the need for British Columbia’s Ministry of Agriculture to respond to growing concerns about uninspected mink farms on Canada’s Pacific coast.

According to documents obtained via Freedom of Information, there are currently 13 mink farms in British Columbia that have not been inspected since at least 2018 – perhaps longer. This documentation was received only weeks after the Ministry of Agriculture responded to a request from The Fur-Bearers regarding mink farms during the pandemic and noted that “strict animal health standards are followed.”

An email follow-up to the Ministry with information in late April that indicated mink could be transmission points for the virus went unanswered. Read more about our original communications here.


The Fur-Bearers are calling on the Ministry of Agriculture to ensure biosecurity is in place at all 13 mink farms pending inspections that should include health checks of all animals and workers, as well as explain why there have been no inspections since at least 2018.

Use the form below or click here to open it in a new window and join our call to ensure the safety of British Columbia’s environment, captive and free wildlife, and communities.

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Established in 1953, The Fur-Bearers is a charitable, non-partisan organization whose goals are to end the commercial fur trade and promote solutions for wildlife coexistence in communities. Your donation is tax-deductible. Charitable registration number: 130006125RR0002

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