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U.S. House passes comprehensive ban on mink farming citing cruelty and contagion risks

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2022-02-11 09:24:15 – USA

The US House of Representatives voted to adopt the America Competes Act, which included a provision to prohibit mink farming throughout the United States, citing cruelty and infection dangers.

Representatives Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., Nancy Mace, R-S.C., and Peter DeFazio, D-Ore. spearheaded the amendment, which was co-sponsored by Reps. Jim Cooper, D-Tenn., Andy Levin, D-Mich., and Joe Neguse, D-Colo. It is a companion bill to H.R. 4310, the Minks Are Superspreaders Act, which was introduced by the same lawmakers as well as two dozen others from both parties, including Reps. Mike McCaul, R-Texas, Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., Lance Gooden, R-Texas, and Vern Buchanan, R-Fla.

Animal Wellness Action, the Animal Wellness Foundation, the Center for a Humane Economy, the Michelson Center for Public Policy, SPCA International, and dozens of other organizations, including the Idaho Humane Society, the Iowa Federation of Humane Societies, and the Oregon League of Conservation Voters, supported the amendment, which was passed on February 4th.

Wayne Pacelle, president of Animal Wellness Action and the Center for a Humane Economy, said that there's nothing good about holding hostile and solitary wild mink in industrial farms, slaughtering them for a product nobody wants, and then exporting their exteriors to luxury buyers in China. The case against mink farming is made when it is realized that a novel variety from one or more of these factory farms may disrupt their economy and put millions of Americans at risk.

The change was accepted as part of a package of revisions that included specific prohibitions on live animal trades due to the risk of contagious diseases.

Representative DeLauro said in a statement from Animal Wellness Action that factory farming of mink harms public health, especially as they continue to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. The evidence is clear: mink operations can incubate and transmit novel COVID-19 genotypes, posing a unique hazard to the pandemic's extension. At the same time, the US mink industry has been steadily declining for years due to a lack of a local market. Now is the time for this measure to become law.

Representative Mace added that one of the many lessons they learned at the start of the COVID-19 epidemic is the genuine threat of disease transmission from animal to human. In fact, if COVID-19 could create the ideal environment for mutation and transmission, it would look a lot like a mink farm, where thousands of mink are housed in cramped, frequently unclean, overcrowded cages for days on end. Today, by working together on both sides of the aisle, they have the opportunity to put a stop to the harsh and barbaric mink farming practice that endangers Americans' health.

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