Last Friday, the America COMPETES Act passed in the U.S. House by a vote of 222 to 210 to counter the anti-competitive actions of China as well as strengthen the competitiveness of the U.S. economy and businesses.

The passage of the act also passes a provision that would ban mink farming in the United States.

Photo by Jo-Anne McArthur on Unsplash
Photo by Jo-Anne McArthur on Unsplash

The legislation comes after hundreds of mink farms across the U.S. experienced a SARS-CoV-2 outbreak. Cases of COVID in mink occurred in the Netherlands, Denmark, Poland, and the United States; however, the CDC says these cases were likely caused by infected workers spreading the disease to the animals. There is no evidence that mink played a significant role in spreading the disease to people.

Mink Farming In The United States

According to Lancaster Farming, the American mink industry has been dealing with an imaging problem for a while due to backlash linked to wearing animal furs. Over the past decade, production and prices of mink have both fallen. 

According to the latest mink production data by the USDA, pelt production in 2020 totaled 1.41 million, which is down 49 percent from 2019. The value of mink pelts also decreased 19 percent from $58.4 million in 2019 to $47.4 million in 2020.

Mink is an export-market commodity with 80% of pelts produced being exported to China.

The amendment was one of the many amendments in the bill, which also included a separate measure that crackdown on wildlife markets due to the infectious disease risks they pose.

The bill now heads to the Senate to be discussed and voted on.

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