At a fur farm in Boxmeer, several minks have been infected by the corona virus. It is already the 27th company where the virus has emerged. The Security Council is concerned.
The 12,500 animals from the company in Boxmeer will all have to be culled. To date, 27 companies have been affected in the following municipalities, mainly in North Brabant: nine in Sint Anthonis, nine in Gemert-Bakel, three in Venray, two in Laarbeek, one in Uden, one in Deurne, one in Nederweert ( Limburg) and one in Boxmeer. Even before the corona crisis broke out, it was decided that from 2024 all fur farms in the Netherlands should be closed.
In the meantime, the Security Council is deeply concerned about the way in which Minister of Agriculture, Schouten, is addressing the sources of infection in fur farms. She would not pay enough attention to the fear of local residents of the farms and would insufficiently coordinate her policy with the safety regions. This is evident from a letter from chairman Hubert Bruls of the Security Council, who is in the possession of RTL Nieuws.
Minister Schouten does not want to clear healthy animals beforehand. She has previously stated that public health comes first in her view. In her decision-making she was guided by expert advice. They have always indicated that residents of mink farms have nothing to fear, because corona has never been found in air samples outside the stables.
How the mink has become infected is currently being further investigated by the NVWA, GGD and the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. The most likely route of infection is from human to animal. People who had COVID-19 symptoms worked on a number of companies. At other companies it is not yet clear how the infection took place. In some cases, the source can no longer be determined.
Experts indicate that the minks were likely to become sick from personnel. In recent weeks, employees have had intensive contact with the minks because the puppies had to be weaned (removed from the mother) and vaccinated. Employees have only been required to wear face masks and face shields since July 10. Therefore, there has been a chance that they infected the mink with the virus during weaning and vaccination.
Weaning and vaccination is now almost complete. It is possible that, until mid-August, infections will come to light that have occurred during this work. However, it is expected that the number of infections will decrease thereafter. If new infections are still found after mid-August, the risks will be reassessed and appropriate action taken. All fur farms are then closed and the animals gassed.