Contact: Jeremy Beckham, email@example.com
This Thursday, the Utah State Records Committee will hear an “expedited” appeal regarding the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF)’s denial of access to records related to ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks on several Utah mink farms. Recent peer-reviewed scientific research demonstrates that mink on fur farms act as dangerous reservoirs for the virus that infects humans with COVID-19. The animals can even be a source of viral mutations that make the virus more transmissible and evasive of the vaccines that are about to roll out. Citing the significant public health threat, nearly all European nations with mink industries have ordered mink culled and farms closed. In contrast, mink breeding season is about start on Utah farms.
UDAF has denied UARC access to virtually all records, including the locations of the outbreaks, correspondence with outside regulatory agencies, and talks UDAF has had with representatives of the fur farming industry. UDAF claims in its denial that releasing the information may encourage illegal releases of mink, citing an incident earlier this year in Morgan “where potentially infected mink have been stolen by individuals for release.” UARC maintains that state law requires the records’ release.
“Governor Herbert and the Utah Department of Agriculture are determined to protect the profits of the cruel and dying fur farming industry rather than protecting the public health of all Utahns who need an effective vaccine,” said Jeremy Beckham, MPH, Executive Director for UARC. “There is significant public interest in understanding which communities in Utah are threatened with COVID-19 outbreaks and how the state is handling this crisis. The state of Utah cannot keep secret its response to the COVID-19 pandemic at the behest of private industry.”
WHAT: UARC vs. Utah Department of Agriculture, GRAMA Dispute Before Utah State Records Committee
WHERE: Google Meet, http://meet.google.com/snp-aejr-hzk
WHEN: Thursday, December 10, 1:00 PM
For more information and to view the a timeline of UARC’s efforts, visit https://uarc.io/a-timeline-of-uarc-covid-19-on-utah-mink-farms/