Early last month, Denmarks’s government ordered all mink farmers to kill their livestock resulting from reports of a deadlier strain of coronavirus spreading rapidly among the animal’s population. In all, almost 20 million minks were killed despite the World Health Organization downplaying fears of a mutated virus strain. Consequently, the country’s mink industry is devastated. The virus is an excuse for politicians to act like maniacs.
Death of a Fur Industry Exposes Covid’s Enduring Threat
By Morten Buttler
(Bloomberg) — At Knud Vest’s farm an hour’s drive west from Copenhagen, a deathly silence pierces unusual wafts of fresh air. Rows and rows of cages are empty, with nothing left but mud and hay. The smell of fertilizer is gone, along with the animals.
For breeders of small, furry European mink like the 74-year-old Dane, the Covid-19 pandemic has been more than just a threat to his health. The past weeks wiped out his business of more than five decades, and spawned a political crisis in Denmark that’s turned into a cautionary tale of the coronavirus’s potential to endure as a menace.
Early last month, Denmark’s government told all mink farmers to kill their stock because of concern that a mutated form of the virus was spreading more quickly than previously thought. Vest and his family carefully started the eradication of 23,000 animals, while opposition political parties rounded on Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen.
“At first when I heard about it I didn’t believe it,” Vest said at his farm last week. “This severe over-reaction has in fact done what animal rights activists have been trying to achieve for years.”
Denmark fared pretty well through the first wave of the pandemic in spring as a swift lockdown helped halt the spread of the virus while global attention turned to neighboring Sweden’s decision to keep its economy open.
That work has been undermined by a scandal over the government’s handling of a cull of 17 million mink, roughly equivalent to three for every person in the Scandinavian country. Opponents say the eradication of all healthy mink was a breach of the Danish constitution.
Yet beyond the political outcry, health experts say Denmark serves as an alarm bell the world needs to heed. So far, it’s the only country that has eliminated all its mink, though as of Nov. 20 the World Health Organization said the most worrying strain linked to the animals is no longer circulating in humans.
PHOTO CREDIT: Mink skins, colours Blue Grotto, turqois, mint, rose, yellow (2017). By Kürschner (talk) 19:37, 8 September 2017 (UTC) – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=62288290