Minks look out of a cage at a fur farm in the village of Litusovo, northeast of Minsk, Belarus, on Dec. 6, 2012. Mink on a second farm in British Columbia’s Fraser Valley have tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 in humans. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Sergei Grits

Minks look out of a cage at a fur farm in the village of Litusovo, northeast of Minsk, Belarus, on Dec. 6, 2012. Mink on a second farm in British Columbia’s Fraser Valley have tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 in humans. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Sergei Grits

COVID-19 has made its way to second B.C. mink farm, no workers sick

Twenty-three animals died between Dec. 19 and 23

Minks on a second farm in British Columbia’s Fraser Valley have tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 in humans.

Three minks that died on the farm tested positive for the virus, the Ministry of Agriculture said in a news release Thursday, noting the animals were tested after some on the farm had diarrhea.

It said 23 animals died between Dec. 19 and 23.

B.C.’s chief veterinarian has placed the farm under a quarantine prohibiting the movement of animals or materials from the property to minimize the risk of spreading the virus.

No workers on the farm have tested positive for COVID-19 and it’s unclear where the minks contracted the virus, the ministry statement said.

Earlier this month, several workers and animals tested positive at a separate Fraser Valley farm where about 200 minks died over a five-day period.

At the time of the test results on the first farm, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the situation was concerning because transmissions between humans and minks have occurred in other countries and there’s potential for the virus to mutate.

All mink farms in B.C. are taking part in an enhanced surveillance and testing program to monitor for COVID-19, the ministry said.

“A plan is in place to provide feed and care to the mink during the outbreak that respects the conditions of the quarantine and maintains both worker and mink safety,” its statement said.

There are about 1,000 minks on the second farm, while the first farm where animals contracted the virus that causes COVID-19 has 15,000 animals.

The ministry said the locations of the farms will not be released.

Both farms were inspected by ministry staff as part of a routine process over the summer to ensure they were in compliance with all animal welfare and biosecurity standards, the ministry said.

There are 13 mink farms in B.C., almost all of which are in the Fraser Valley, according to the B.C. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

After the first outbreak of COVID-19 earlier this month, the SPCA called for a moratorium on mink farming in B.C. through the immediate suspension of all mink farm licences.

Representatives for the SPCA and the Canadian Mink Breeders Association could not immediately be reached for comment.

Denmark, the world’s largest supplier of mink fur, decided last month to cull all of its farmed minks, amounting to about 15 million animals.

The World Health Organization said at the time the decision was made after it was determined it wasn’t possible to stop the spread of the infection from farm to farm, or from animals to humans.

The organization said in a statement posted online there had been more than 300 cases of COVID-19 in Denmark among people working in mink pelting, suggesting “there is an increased risk of COVID-19 infection in people who are involved in farming, culling and pelting of mink.”

Several hundred mink culled in Denmark began rising up from shallow graves after gas built up in the bodies, Danish authorities said last month.

Spain culled about 100,000 farmed minks, and in the U.S., about 10,000 minks in Utah died as the virus spread across farms.

— with files from The Associated Press

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The emergency department at Peace Arch Hospital in White Rock, B.C., in July 2020. (Black Press Media)
Peace Arch Hospital Foundation reaches $12 million goal

New operating suites to open this fall

Peace Arch Hospital Foundation executive director Stephanie Beck speaks at a 2017 groundbreaking ceremony. In March 2020, she announced the Rapid Response Grant Program, aimed at providing financial assistance during the pandemic. (File photo)
Peace Arch Hospital Foundation launches youth program

Youth in Action designed for students who want to make an impact in their community

The RCMP logo is seen outside Royal Canadian Mounted Police “E” Division Headquarters, in Surrey, B.C., on April 13, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Surrey RCMP asking for dash-cam video of ‘suspicious incident’

Incident involves a newer model Toyota Rav 4 SUV

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
‘It’s been a good week’: Tam hopeful on vaccines as pandemic anniversary nears

Tam says the addition of two new vaccines will help Canadians get immunized faster

Const. Allan Young. Photo: Abbotsford Police Department
Manslaughter charge laid in Nelson death of Abbotsford police officer

Allan Young died after an incident in downtown Nelson last summer

The Kimber family of Boston Bar lost their home in a fire. Blaine Kimber’s daughter created a fundraiser to help rebuild the home with the goal of $100,000. (Screenshot/GoFundMe)
Fundraiser created for Boston Bar family that lost everything in weekend fire

Witnesses say the Kimber family escaped the fire without injury, but their home is a total loss

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

Pictures and notes in from friends and classmates make up a memorial in support and memory of Aubrey Berry, 4, and her sister Chloe, 6, during a vigil held at Willows Beach in Oak Bay, B.C., on December 30, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Mother of slain daughters supports recent changes to Canada’s Divorce Act

Sarah Cotton-Elliott said she believed her children took a back seat to arranging equal parenting

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Most Read