Animal rights groups are praising Denmark’s decision to cull around 17 million caged minks.
The government considers the action necessary out of fear the animals will spread a new mutated strain of the coronavirus to humans and threaten the effectiveness of Covid-19 vaccines.
Animal rights groups are hoping the cull will herald the end of the mink fur trade.
Twelve people have contracted the mutated strain of the virus, which is considered “very, very serious” and could potentially have “devastating consequences worldwide”, Forbes reports.
Animal welfare group Humane Society International has praised the country for taking “the necessary steps to protect the people”. Due to Denmark’s struggle to contain Covid-19, the national police chief, has suggested that the culling “should happen as soon as possible”.
Denmark is one of the world’s main mink fur exporters with an estimated 17 million furs produced each year. The fur is still highly prized by some wealthy women for expensive coats and other fashionable apparel. Mink oil is also used to make boot polish.
The minks are kept on special breeding farms, in battery cages which encourage the rapid spread of disease.
“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,” the Humane Society International said in a statement reported in the International Business Times.
The Netherlands and Spain have also announced the contamination of many minks in their farms. Mink farms are under close surveillance in France.