Last month animal rights activists released approximately 2,000 mink and vandalized fur farms in Northern Utah and Southern Idaho.
Michael Whelan, the executive director of Fur Commission USA, told the Cache Valley Daily in Logan, UT, most of the mink stayed near their nesting boxes.
“All the mink released tested negative for coronavirus and 90 percent were recaptured,” Whelan said. “When the animals are released, they don’t want to leave the farm.”
He said the mink may go to the roads if they hear traffic because traffic noises sound the same has a tractor that feeds them. So, they may head to the road where they get hit by vehicles.
COVID-19 infected many mink and killed thousands of them in Utah. Mink farmers stress, however, the mink pose no threat to humans.
“I would like to assure the public that mink cannot infect humans,” he said. “The mink caught the COVID from laborers that had the disease,” Whalen said. “But it effects the older mink and within four or five days some mink are cleared.”
More than 85% of pelts used in the world’s fur trade comes from small, family-run farms. There are approximately 275 mink farms in the U.S., with Wisconsin the leading producer with more than a million pelts. Mink in the U.S. produce about 3 million pelts annually, with a value of more than $300 million.