Kopenhagen Fur—the largest fur auction house in the world—announced this week that it would close within the next two to three years. Founded in 1930, the cooperative company is owned by 1,500 Danish fur farmers and brokers Danish animal pelts to countries around the world, selling 24.8 million mink skins from 2018 to 2019 alone.  

This summer, COVID-19 infections were identified on mink farms in 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 Denmark, a massive cull of the country’s 15 million to 17 million mink is currently underway after a mutated form of the COVID-19 virus—which showed decreased sensitivity to antibodies, posing a threat to the effectiveness of future COVID-19 vaccines—was found in both humans and mink. 

Kopenhagen Fur’s announcement came hours after the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) published the “Rapid Risk Assessment: Detection of new SARS-CoV-2 variants related to mink,” a new report about the grave implications of a mutated COVID-19 virus spreading through mink fur farms to humans. In its report, the ECDC stresses that the current virus variant—dubbed “cluster 5”—may not be the last to originate from mink farms, stating, “continued transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in mink farms may eventually give rise to other variants of concern.” 

Animal-rights group Humane Society International (HSI) believes that the closure of Kopenhagen Fur could signal the downfall of the global fur industry. “The announcement by Kopenhagen Fur that it will cease trading shows that fur production has now passed a tipping point and it could very well signal the beginning of the end of the fur trade,” HSI Europe Senior Director of Public Affairs Joanna Swabe said. “Fur farms are not only the cause of immense and unnecessary animal suffering, but they are also ticking time bombs for deadly diseases. We cannot simply sit back and wait for the next pandemic to emerge from them.”

Earlier this week, a story published about the topic in British Vogue concurred that the fur industry is in the midst of an imminent downfall given recent events, declining public perception of fur, and a growing number of major fashion brands banning the cruelly begotten material.

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