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

SD62 bus driver Kerry Zado said it’s common to see drivers lose their patience and pass by his bus while he’s picking up students during the morning commute. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
School bus driver laments motorists who pass while red lights are flashing

All buses in Sooke School District outfitted with stop sign cameras

Metchosin Coun. Kyara Kahakauwila is stepping down as deputy mayor following controversy over her decision to travel to Mexico in December. (Black Press Media file photo)
Councillor steps down as deputy mayor of Metchosin after controversial trip to Mexico

Mayor hopeful mediation will help council get back to the business of community

Victoria police are seeking home surveillance video and witnesses following a prowling incident in Esquimalt Jan. 20. (Black Press Media file photo)
Esquimalt prowler removes air conditioner, peers into person’s home

VicPD is seeking video footage, witnesses following Jan. 20 incident

West Shore RCMP seized a stolen fish finder and drugs after searching a Colwood home Jan. 9. (Black Press Media file photo)
Search of Colwood home reveals stolen fish finder, drug trafficking evidence

West Shore RCMP suspect a 46-year-old woman is responsible

(Black Press Media files)
Transport Canada not budging on enclosed deck rules, despite calls from BC Ferries union

There have been at least 23 cases of the U.K. variant detected in Canada, four of which are in B.C.

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

(Black Press Media file photo)
From arts to environment, nominate your West Shore hero

Nominations for the Goldstream Gazetteā€™s Local Hero awards are open

Vancouver Canucks’ Travis Hamonic grabs Montreal Canadiens’ Josh Anderson by the face during first period NHL action in Vancouver, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horvat scores winner as Canucks dump Habs 6-5 in shootout thriller

Vancouver and Montreal clash again Thursday night

Rod Bitten of Union Bay won $500,000 in the Lotto Max draw on Jan. 15. Photo supplied
Vancouver Island electrician gets shocking surprise with $500K Extra win

Rod Bitten has been hard at work with home renovations, which is… Continue reading

Oyster River Fire Rescue members were called out to a suspicious fire in Black Creek. Two vehicles parked at a private residence were destroyed by fire. Photo courtesy Oyster River Fire Rescue
Suspicious fire destroys two vehicles at Vancouver Island residence

Oyster River Fire Rescue personnel were dispatched to a fire at a… Continue reading

Southern resident killer whales in B.C. waters. Research shows the population’s females are more negatively influenced by vessel traffic than males. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Female orcas less likely to feed in presence of vessel traffic: study

Research the southern resident population raises concerns over reproduction capacity

Eighteen-year-old Aidan Webber died in a marine accident in 2019. He was a Canadian Junior BMX champion from Nanaimo. (Submitted)
Inadequate safety training a factor in teen BMX star’s workplace death in 2019

Aidan Webber was crushed by a barge at a fish farm near Port Hardy

A suspect has been arrested in connection with fires at Drinkwater Elementary (pictured) and École Mount Prevost. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Arson suspect arrested after fires at Cowichan Valley schools

Drinkwater Elementary and Mount Prevost schools hit within a week

Most Read