Minks passed the deadly H5N1 virus to one another on a fur factory farm in Spain, indicating that bird flu can mutate and enhance its ability to spread among mammals, including humans. If you’re sick of global pandemics, help PETA shut down fur farms in order to end their cruelty and limit the spread of disease.
Why Is It Frightening That Bird Flu Is Spreading Among Mammals?
H5N1, which has a 56% mortality rate in humans, is usually contracted only through direct contact with infected birds, as in the case of the U.S. worker who became infected with the virus after killing chickens en masse. The case of minks passing bird flu to one another shows that H5N1 has gained at least one mutation that makes it easier to spread from mammal to mammal.
Three out of every four emerging infectious diseases in humans originate in other animals and are in part caused by the exploitation of animals for food, clothing, and other purposes. AIDS, swine flu, SARS, MERS, Ebola, Zika, and COVID-19 are all zoonotic pathogens, meaning they can be transmitted to humans from other animals.
Breeding and raising animals creates hotspots for zoonotic diseases. Those raised on industrial farms for food or fur, like minks, are bred by the thousands and usually kept in cramped and unsanitary conditions, often surrounded by their own waste. These conditions cause them extreme stress and anxiety and create the perfect breeding grounds for pathogens. As long as animals continue to be exploited for profit, pandemics will be inevitable.
Fur Farms Must Close: Urge LVMH to Stop Selling Fur
Minks are semi-aquatic animals who make their homes in cozy dens that they line with grass and leaves. But on fur factory farms, minks are confined to small wire cages that dig into their feet and have no access to grass for bedding or water to swim in. Many animals on fur farms slowly go insane and even self-mutilate from the stress of intensive confinement.
PETA has been pushing executives at LVMH—which owns Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Dior, and other fashion brands—to ban fur. Yet even though most luxury fashion houses now embrace faux fur to meet the demands of informed and compassionate consumers, LVMH has refused to cut ties with the cruel fur trade.