This week's bill was introduced by Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) and Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.). It would ban the import, export and transport of mink in the United States.
Researchers believe that COVID-19 could spread to animals faster than it jumps back to humans.
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDPC) issued new guidance last year to stop the spread of coronavirus between humans and minks. The agency stated that COVID-19 can spread quickly on mink farms, causing mutations in minks. This could lead to the virus spreading back to the human population.
Last year, Denmark reported that 12 people were sickened by a coronavirus variant that also affects mink.
Mace stated Friday that "Knowing there are variants and being concerned about animal welfare, this is kind of a win-win situation for people," during a interview with The Associated Press.
Fur Commission USA is a non-profit representing mink farmers in the United States. It estimates that there are approximately 275 mink farm operations across 23 states, which produce about 3 million pelts a year. According to the commission, this amounts to an annual income of more than $300,000,000.
In the United States, there have been several cases of mink-related coronavirus. A number of mink-related coronavirus cases have been reported in the U.S.
According to The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention a mink from a Michigan farm and a few people were infected by a coronavirus that contained mink-related mutations. Officials suggested that minks-to-human spread might have occurred.
Although mink-to–human spread is possible for SARS-CoV-2, officials at the CDC said that there is no evidence that mink played a significant part in spreading it to humans.