Ahead of the G7 meeting this month, governments are reckoning with the future during and after the Covid-19 pandemic. Activists and experts, including Humane Society Legislative Fund, Humane Society International and the Humane Society of the United States, have sent President Biden a letter urging him to protect public health by enacting a fur ban to help prevent future pandemics.

The experts’ letter says: “It is clear that fur farms have the potential to act as reservoirs of SARS-CoV-2… the intensive breeding conditions typical on fur farms—animals unnaturally crowded together, poor hygiene, stress, injuries and low genetic diversity—are ideal for the creation and spread of novel pathogens. Severe animal welfare deficiencies are inherent to factory fur farming, and the trade creates potential for the many tens of millions of animals on fur farms to act as immediate, intermediate or amplifier hosts for viral pathogens. To risk jeopardising our ability to control and end this or future global coronavirus pandemics, for the sake of fur fashion production, would seem imprudent. We therefore support the call by Humane Society International for a permanent global end to the breeding, keeping and killing of animals for the purposes of fur production, and the sale of fur.”

Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States and CEO of Humane Society International, said in an emailed statement, “Protecting people from deadly zoonotic diseases and future pandemics needs to be one of the highest priorities for President Biden and other world leaders at this meeting. On fur farms animals’ suffering is nonstop. They also contribute to global virus outbreaks. This is a common-sense ban that has the potential to prevent devastating outcomes.”

The first infections on mink fur farms were found in April and the Dutch government used the opportunity to take a stance against the industry and call for closing all farms by March 2021. Over a million mink were killed during the pandemic. Read more about mink and fur farms during coronavirus, including the coronavirus spread through Dutch farms, a million mink killed by Dutch fur farms during coronavirus, and the Dutch government’s previous statement on mink and the coronavirus.