This week, Denmark Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen called for the killing of all of the country’s mink on fur farms in an effort to contain a mutated strain of the virus that leads to COVID-19. Authorities identified viral strains in both humans and mink that showed decreased sensitivity to antibodies which poses a threat to the effectiveness of future COVID-19 vaccines. “The virus has mutated in mink. The mutated virus has spread to humans,” Frederiksen said. “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.” The virus was identified at 207 out of the 1,139 fur farms in Denmark. Currently, between 15 and 17 million mink live on fur farms in Denmark, where culling has already begun. 

This summer, COVID-19 infections were also identified on mink farms in other regions, including Spain, the United States, and the Netherlands—the latter of which will close all of its remaining mink fur farms by March 2021, two-and-a-half years sooner than a mink fur farming ban already on the books in the country.  

In light of the situation, United Kingdom-based animal-rights group Viva! is calling upon world leaders to shut down factory fur farms to prevent the spread of disease. “Mink farms provide the ideal environment for a mutating virus. The animals are kept in horrific conditions and experience extreme stress as a result of their cramped and inhumane surroundings. On these farms, the animals are tightly packed into filthy wire cages, standing on top of each other and in their own faeces, which enables viruses to quickly mutate and spread throughout the population,” Viva! Senior Health Researcher Justine Butler, PhD, said. “Factory farms breed pandemics—it’s simple. We are devastated by this news. These mink have lived miserable lives full of pain and suffering, which will now be brutally ended—all so that humans can wear their fur as a completely useless fashion accessory. The solution is simple: go vegan and stop supporting these cruel industries altogether.”

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