Minks look out of a cage at a fur farm in the village of Litusovo, northeast of Minsk, Belarus. Some mink farmers are concerned about COVID-19 spread through their mink. There have been outbreaks in mink farms in Europe and millions of mink had to be culled. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Sergei Grits.

Minks look out of a cage at a fur farm in the village of Litusovo, northeast of Minsk, Belarus. Some mink farmers are concerned about COVID-19 spread through their mink. There have been outbreaks in mink farms in Europe and millions of mink had to be culled. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Sergei Grits.

COVID-19 outbreak declared at B.C. mink farm

Minks can be naturally infected, and farmed minks can develop clinical illness, according to BCCDC

A COVID-19 outbreak has been declared at a mink farm in B.C.

Eight people at the farm have tested positive, according to a Dec. 6 news release from Fraser Health. They are now screening employees and conducting case and contact management.

“As with all individuals who test positive or are close contacts of individuals who test positive for COVID-19, the farm operators and affected staff are self-isolating,” Fraser Health said. “The site has been inspected by Fraser Health and WorkSafeBC and we continue to work with the site on their COVID-19 mitigation strategies.”

The farm has been ordered to restrict all transport of animals, products and goods from the location under the BC Animal Health Act.

The minks’ welfare is being supported by the Ministry of Agriculture, and enhanced measures are being put in place to keeps the farm owner and creatures safe.

COVID-19 can be naturally acquired by a small number of animals, including domestic cats, lions and tigers, dogs and minks, according to the BC Centre for Disease Control, and clinical illness can result in cats and farmed mink.

All employers in B.C., including mink farms, are required to implement COVID-19 safety plans, Fraser Health said. This includes requirements to assess any risks to workers, and plans to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 in the workplace.

WorkSafeBC is now reaching out directly to other mink farms across the province to discuss requirements.

World Animal Protection is a charity in Toronto which has been pushing the Canadian government to put a global ban on the wildlife trade to stop the spread of animals-to-human viruses. The group said mink farming is inhumane, and the animals are kept in tiny, overcrowded cages which makes it easier for viruses to jump species.

“This outbreak in B.C. is a wake-up call for Canada to end the farming and trade of wild animals for luxury products,” said Melissa Matlow, the campaign director for World Animal Protection. “COVID-19 has spread like wildfire on mink farms in Europe and several states in the U.S. A number of countries have banned fur farming and COVID-19 has led the Netherlands to accelerate their phase-out of the industry.

“World Animal Protection is strongly encouraging Canada to follow their lead.”

Around 75 per cent of emerging infection diseases impacting humans come from animals (mainly wildlife), according to the Matlow. She said the industry is cruel and is a significant risk to public health.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The City of Salmon Arm's budget for 2021 includes funding for design work for the renovation of the recreation centre. (File photo)
Covid funding helps Salmon Arm city council reduce tax increase for 2021

Roads to receive needed work this year, pool upgrade design to commence

Columbia Shuswap Regional District staff reviewed its policies around health and safety after an employee tested positive for COVID-19. (File photo)
CSRD reviews COVID-19 policy after employee tests positive

City of Salmon Arm says only one of its staff has tested positive since March

Salmon Arm Secondary student Karly Irmen collected almost 300 lbs of food for the Salvation Army Food bank and dropped it off on Tuesday, Jan. 19. (Jim Elliot-Salmon Arm Observer)
Salmon Arm Secondary student organizes 295-lb food bank donation

A large amount of clothes was also collected to support local Salvation Army

The BC SPCA is adapting its fundraising after cancelling events due to COVID-19 restrictions. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)
BC SPCA gets creative with fundraising as pandemic continues

The non-profit’s in-person fundraising events all had to be cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions

Vancouver Canucks’ Travis Hamonic grabs Montreal Canadiens’ Josh Anderson by the face during first period NHL action in Vancouver, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horvat scores winner as Canucks dump Habs 6-5 in shootout thriller

Vancouver and Montreal clash again Thursday night

Interior Health has declared the Cariboo Chilcotin a community cluster. (Angie Mindus photo)
Interior Health declares Cariboo Chilcotin region a COVID-19 cluster, 215 cases since Jan. 1

Most cases are related to transmission at social events and gatherings in Williams Lake

Vernon Fire Rescue Services responded to a single-vehicle rollover Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, after a vehicle came into contact with a pedestrian light pole at Kalamalka Lake Road and 14th Avenue. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Minor injuries in rollover after vehicle hits Vernon crosswalk pole

The vehicle flipped onto its side, closing Kalamalka Lake Road

Penticton city council heard from Dhorea Ramanula, of Paid Employment for People with Lived Experiences Tuesday, Jan. 19. Ramanula’s organization has operated public washrooms in Kelowna staffed by community support workers since April, she says Penticton could benefit from a similar facility. (Michael Rodriguez - Kelowna Capital News)
Penticton interested in new public washroom concept to combat vandalism

Public washrooms with on-site support staff have been operating in Kelowna since April

Canada Post had remove a lot of letter boxes around Penticton after they were vandalized. This letter box at the United Church on Main St. remains unscathed. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Street mailbox vandals strike Penticton drop boxes

Canada Post had to remove a bunch of the vandalized units

Esa Carriere, 23, was the victim of a 2018 Canada Day homicide. (File)
Youth sentenced in Kelowna Canada Day killing

Young woman pleaded guilty to lesser assault charge, sentenced to 15-month intensive support and supervision program

A rendering of UBC’s planned downtown Kelowna campus. (Contributed)
Kelowna’s new downtown campus to help alleviate UBCO’s space crunch

The sizable development is anticipated to be completed by the fall 2024 semester

Most Read