Utah Animal Rights Coalition calls on governor to shut down mink farms amid COVID-19 outbreaks


By Taylor Stevens, The Salt Lake Tribune (UT)

Oct 14, 2020


The Utah Animal Rights Coalition sent a letter to Utah Gov. Gary Herbert this week calling on him to “take more decisive action” to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the state’s mink farms.


More than 10,000 minks at Utah fur farms have died because of the coronavirus, forcing nine sites in three counties to quarantine. But despite continued reassurances from the state veterinarian that people don’t appear to be at risk from these outbreaks, the coalition argues the flare-ups pose a “serious and growing public health threat” as some early research indicates the virus can spread from minks to humans.


If true, the Utah Animal Rights Coalition says mink could act not only as “significant reservoirs” for viral transmission but would also represent “a biological factory for amplification and possible mutation” of the virus.


“This could result in new serotypes of SARS-CoV-2 that could prove to be even more dangerous, should they cross the species barrier and infect humans,” the letter states.


The coalition is calling for the governor to use his executive authority to immediately suspend all breeding operations on mink farms, mandate COVID-19 testing protocols for both animals and workers and facilitate “greater public transparency” about the mink outbreaks...