Coronavirus could spell the end of the mink fur trade, but not before the slaughter of millions of innocent animals.
Denmark is the world’s largest mink pelts producer, with an estimated 15 to 17 million mink raised on more than 1,100 farms employing about 2600 full-time staff across the country’s northern region.
Every year, the country produces 19 million skins, which brings the government $1.3 billion in exports. China and Hong Kong are the largest buyers of mink fur, followed by Russia.
Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, Denmark has reported an increased number of Covid-19 infections on mink farms.
Farmed minks began contracting the novel coronavirus within the Netherlands as early as April, and in June, several farmworkers reportedly caught the virus from the sick animals.
A SARS-CoV-2 mutation linked to the ferret-like animals has resulted in a minimum of 12 Danish people infected, while several hundred farms have reported SARS-CoV-2 infections among their mink. The number includes over 200 farms in Jutland, the mainland part of Denmark.
Around 400 people infected with the coronavirus are connected to mink farms, although most cases come from exposed farmworkers spreading the virus through their communities.
The country’s health authorities fear the new strain could prove to be more resistant against a potential future vaccine after tests allegedly showed decreased sensitivity against antibodies.
Meanwhile, Denmark’s police, army, and security guards are being deployed to hurry the culling process. More stringent lockdown restrictions and intensified tracing efforts will be implemented to contain the virus in some areas.
“We know that viruses mutate, so it’s not surprising that SARS-CoV-2 spread among these mink and picked up new genetic mutations along the way,” said David Barritt of Network for Animals (NFA).
“The Dutch government have already killed the mink populations on 68 mink farms in June. It’s an utter tragedy that so many more animals will pay the ultimate price thanks to humankind’s greed.”
Mink farming is incredibly cruel and results in the indescribable suffering of so many animals. It’s an industry that ought to have been shut down decades ago. Without published reports on the nature of the mutation, the world is left somewhat in the dark. It’s not clear how Denmark will roll out the mass cull or plan to dispose of the millions of bodies after killing these animals.
NFA is calling on Denmark – and other countries – to implement a complete ban on fur farming and finally end the suffering of innumerable animals on fur farms solely for a trifling fur fashion that nobody needs.