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COVID-19

Netherlands to close mink farms after coronavirus outbreaks

Netherlands to close mink farms after coronavirus outbreaks
epa08385089 General view of a closed off mink farm in Beek en Donk, the Netherlands, 26 April 2020. Covid-19 has been confirmed in mink at two fur farms in the Netherlands, the agriculture ministry confirmed. The animals were tested after developing a variety of symptoms. Public health institute RIVM has sealed off an area some 400 metres around each farm EPA-EFE/ROB ENGELAAR

AMSTERDAM, Aug 27 (Reuters) - More than 100 mink farms in the Netherlands will be ordered closed by March after animals at dozens of locations contracted the coronavirus, Dutch news agency ANP reported on Thursday.

Hundreds of thousands of the ferret-like animals, which are bred for their fur, have been culled in the Netherlands and other European countries since the virus outbreak.

The Netherlands had already intended to halt its mink breeding industry by 2024, but decided to bring forward the closures after several farm employees contracted COVID-19.

The government has set aside 180 million euros ($212 million) to compensate farmers, the ANP report said, citing sources.

According to the Dutch Federation of Pelt Farmers, the Netherlands exports around 90 million euros ($101 million) worth of fur a year for use in China and globally. The country had roughly 900,000 mink at 130 farms, Statistics Netherlands data said.

($1 = 0.8459 euros) (Reporting by Anthony Deutsch; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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