COVID-19 Cases in Minks Prompt Call to Shut Down Fur Farms

With Fatal Viruses Linked to Captive Wildlife, PETA Offers to Retrain Fur Farm Employees to Grow Healthy Vegan Food

For Immediate Release:
April 29, 2020

Moira Colley 202-483-7382

Madison, Wis. – Following reports that minks have tested positive for coronavirus on two Dutch fur farms, this morning, PETA is urging Gov. Tony Evers to shut down all mink farms in Wisconsin, the top mink-producing state in the country. The group is offering to help retrain employees to grow snap beans, sweet corn, cranberries, cucumbers, carrots, cabbage, and other crops that are commonly grown here—and it would even help pay for the seeds. PETA’s letter to the governor is available here.

PETA points out that the novel coronavirus originated in a live-animal market. Such markets represent a similar public health risk to that posed by fur farms, where minks are confined next to each other in wire cages and disease can easily spread through urine, excrement, pus, and blood. A two-month PETA eyewitness exposé of one Wisconsin fur farm revealed that thousands of minks were kept in rows of filthy, wire-floored cages, many above piles of their own waste a foot tall. One mink chewed through a cage until her face was bloody.

“Filthy fur farms packed with sick, stressed, and injured minks are breeding grounds for disease,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “In the face of a global crisis stemming from the wildlife trade, PETA is calling on Governor Evers to shut down these facilities and help farmers start meeting the skyrocketing demand for healthy vegan food.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that approximately 75% of recently emerging infectious diseases affecting humans originated in other animals. Minks on fur farms are suspected to be infected with a wide range of pathogens and diseases, including zoonotic ones like tularemia, LA-MRSA, hepatitis E, influenza, and salmonella.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to wear”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind