For Immediate Release, February 25, 2021

Contact:

Lori Ann Burd, Center for Biological Diversity, (971) 717-6405, laburd@biologicaldiversity.org

Center for Biological Diversity Endorses Oregon Bill to End Mink Farming, Compensate State's Few Remaining Producers

Mink Farms Viewed as Potential Reservoirs of COVID-19, Threat to Wild Animals

PORTLAND, Ore.— The Center for Biological Diversity has endorsed a bill by Oregon state Sen. Floyd Prozanski to phase out mink farming in the state by the end of the year. The legislation, Senate Bill 832, follows similar actions taken by Ireland and the Netherlands to permanently close all mink farms and discontinue mink-breeding programs in order to protect public health against the spread of COVID-19 and other diseases. A report published in Science in January determined that the virus is transmissible between mink and humans. If lawmakers adopted this bill, Oregon would lead the nation by being the first state to adopt a prohibition on mink farming, joining other nations that have banned the practice.

“Here in Oregon, we know the threat of diseased farmed mink escaping and putting wild animals at risk is very real, because it happened just last month,” said Lori Ann Burd, environmental health director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The truth is, this industry poses a grave threat to wild animals and public health and should no longer be allowed to operate in Oregon.”

Mink are members of the mustelid family, which in Oregon includes native mink, federally protected Humboldt martens, Pacific fishers, wolverines, ermines, long-tailed weasels, American badgers and river otters.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.