The Finnish Food Authority is ordering all minks to be put down at fur farms with diagnosed avian influenza infections

August 1/2023

The Finnish Food Authority has specified the euthanasia criteria for fur animals infected with avian influenza. The decision states that all minks will be put down at fur farms with diagnosed avian influenza infections. This policy decision on minks by the Finnish Food Authority also takes into account the view of the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL). The decisions to put down foxes and raccoon dogs will still be made on a case-by-case basis.

Mink is an especially problematic species when it comes to avian influenza infections. This is due to the fact that minks’ upper respiratory tracts contain receptors that can bind to both avian and human influenza viruses, which makes minks sensitive to infections caused by both types of influenza. Minks can therefore be more effective than other mammals as an intermediate host for avian influenza, enabling the virus to mutate more effectively into a form that will infect humans. To prevent such variants of the virus, it is important to put down all minks at infected fur farms.

Decisions on putting down foxes and raccoon dogs are made on a case-by-case basis

With regard to decisions on putting down foxes and raccoon dogs, the Finnish Food Authority may order all or some of the foxes and raccoon dogs at a fur farm to be put down. This decision is impacted by the extent and intensity of the symptoms of avian influenza at the farm. It is also possible that no immediate euthanasia order will be issued for the animals at a farm if symptoms and increased mortality have stopped at the farm. However, the restrictions on fur farms imposed by the Regional State Administrative Agency and the measures to prevent the spread of the disease will remain in force at all the farms where avian influenza has been detected. If some animals at an infected farm have not been ordered to be put down, additional samples will be taken repeatedly from the animals at those farms to monitor the infection situation. Euthanasia decisions may be extended later on the basis of the results.

Euthanasia order issued for three fur farms

So far, the Finnish Food Authority has issued euthanasia orders for the animals of three fur farms. Preparations for new euthanasia orders are continuing this week. The Finnish Food Authority is not publishing information on the fur farms that have been issued euthanasia orders.

Animal owners have the right to claim compensation from state funds for animals put down by an order issued by the Finnish Food Authority. The amount of compensation is still undetermined.

Avian influenza had been diagnosed at twenty fur farms by the end of July. Samples from four farms are currently being analysed.

Read more about avian influenza at the Finnish Food Authority website (