Denmark to cull millions of mink over mutated form of novel coronavirus

Posted on 5 November 2020

Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen announced plans to cull the country’s entire population of mink. This comes as a mutated form of the coronavirus has been found in 207 out of the 1,139 fur farms in the country.

Denmark is the world’s largest producer of mink fur. There are between 15-17 million mink in Denmark. Attempts to curb outbreaks on these farms, by means of culling infected animals, have failed and infections continue to persist.

Mink are dark-colored, semiaquatic, carnivorous mammals.

‘The virus has mutated in mink. The mutated virus has spread to humans,’ Frederiksen said according to CNN. ‘We have a great responsibility towards our own population, but with the mutation that has now been found, we have an even greater responsibility for the rest of the world as well.’

Animal rights group Humane Society International have both commended the Danish government for protecting its citizens as well as acknowledged the tragedy that lies ahead.

Dr Joanna Swabe, Humane Society International/Europe’s senior director of public affairs, said: ‘Denmark is one of the largest fur producers on the planet, so a total shut down of all Danish mink fur farms amidst spiralling COVID-19 infections, is a significant development.

‘Although not a ban on fur farming, this move signals the end of suffering for millions of animals confined to small wire cages on Danish fur farms solely for the purposes of a trivial fur fashion that no-one needs.

‘We commend the Danish Prime Minister on her decision to take such an essential and science-led step to protect Danish citizens from the deadly coronavirus and ensure that the effectiveness of any vaccine is not compromised by mutations in the SARS-CoV-2 virus from its mink hosts.

‘With COVID-19 having already been detected on 207 of the 1,139 fur farms in Denmark and over 1.2 million mink having already been culled as a result, the risk of keeping these virus reservoirs operating is far too great.

‘A decline in the public demand for fur fashion has led to a significant drop in pelt prices and stockpiles of fur skins going unsold at auctions. Although the death of millions of mink – whether culled for COVID-19 or killed for fur – is an animal welfare tragedy, fur farmers will now have a clear opportunity to pivot away from this cruel and dying industry and choose a more humane and sustainable livelihood instead.

‘HSI urges the Danish government to assist fur farmers to transition to other activities. There has never been a more compelling time for Denmark to shut down this sick industry for good.’

Picture: Unsplash

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