Mink: Coronavirus

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 23rd November 2020.

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Photo of Daniel Zeichner Daniel Zeichner Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions the Government is having with officials in countries outside of Europe which farm mink on the status of coronavirus on their farms.

Photo of Victoria Prentis Victoria Prentis The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Defra is monitoring the situation carefully and working closely with the Department of Health and Social Care, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and Public Health England.

Our Chief Veterinary Officer and other officials have been having regular interactions with the Danish technical experts to understand better the mink cases and the implications of the new variant virus strains. They also have regular contact with our European neighbours who farm mink for fur. FCDO have been leading on our interactions further afield, with Defra support.

We have published a cross-Government risk assessment for the UK on this situation:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/hairs-risk-assessment-on-sars-cov-2-in-mustelinae-population

Mink farming is banned across the UK. The legislation came into force in England and Wales in 2000 and in Scotland and Northern Ireland in 2002.

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