Video shows mink pulled from cages and thrown ‘like rubbish’ into gas chambers on Dutch fur farms

Cruelty shows UK must ban sales of real fur, say animal rights campaigners

Jane Dalton
Thursday 19 November 2020 17:23 GMT
Workers seen with their masks not on properly as minks heard screeching

Mink were pulled from cages by their tails or hind legs and hurled into mobile gas chambers on fur farms in the Netherlands, video footage has revealed.

The rough handling of the animals breaks EU animal-welfare regulations.

Animal rights campaigners said the video shows a behind-the-scenes view of the cruelty of the Dutch industry, which is closing next year. It also highlights the need for the UK to stop sales of real fur, they added.

Mink farming in the Netherlands had been due to be phased out by 2024, but when outbreaks of coronavirus in the animals were discovered on fur farms in several countries earlier this year, the Dutch government brought the date forward to March next year to prevent fur farms acting as Covid reservoirs.

Denmark has been culling all of its 17 million mink on its estimated 1,200 fur farms.  

The footage, secretly shot on two farms last week by Dutch group Animal Rights, shows the animals being pulled roughly from cages and thrown one after the other towards mobile gas chambers, sometimes from a great distance.

In one clip, the mink are heard screeching with alarm or pain.  

And workers are seen with their anti-coronavirus masks below their noses.

Although mink on 69 mink on Netherlands farms have been culled since Covid outbreaks, fur from the country’s remaining 50 or more farms will still be sold. In November and December mink born in April and May are gassed and skinned for their winter fur.

Claire Bass, executive director of Humane Society International/UK said: “Live mink are seen being yanked from their cage by the tail or hind leg, in clear breach of EU regulations, and tossed like trash into the mobile gas chamber one after the other in quick succession.  

“The speed with which these sentient animals are thrown in together means they will almost certainly be dying in front of each other, again in breach of the rules.

“Thankfully, these will be the last mink to suffer on Dutch fur farms but it has never been more important for the UK to stop providing a market for this cruel industry.” 

European regulations ban lifting or pulling animals “by the head, ears, horns, legs, tail or fur, or to treat them in such a way that it causes them pain or causes avoidable suffering”.

Animal Rights campaign leader Erwin Vermeulen said: “No form of supervision is exercised on the minks inside the gassing box at either company and the gas cart is loaded as quickly as the employees can throw animals in. 

“These men, who work unprotected all day with minks that we know are extremely susceptible to the coronavirus stand next to you in the supermarket in the evening.”

The Independent has asked the International Fur Federation to respond to the video and the claims.

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