Kopenhagen Fur has announced plans to completely liquidate business in two to three years following a recent Danish government order for a mass mink cull.
The world’s largest auction house for fur has announced it will close down in 2023.
90-year-old Kopenhagen Fur made the announcement after the Danish government ordered a widespread cull of the country’s mink in an effort to fight a coronavirus mutation.
Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, who announced the order on 4th November, cited a government report which said that scientists had discovered a rare mutation of the coronavirus having the potential to render the current vaccines under development for Covid-19 ineffective.
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said that the virus mutation found in Denmark “could potentially affect the level of overall vaccine effectiveness of vaccines under development” but also added that “further investigations are required regarding the nature of these mutations and their implications for issues such as vaccine effectiveness,” due to “high uncertainties.”
According to a statement on the auction house’s website, the company will start liquidating the business after it has auctioned the pelts already in its possession. It sold 24.8 million mink skins between 2018 and 2019, as well as significant amounts of fox, chinchilla, and karakul pelts,
Kopenhagen Fur plans to hold final fur auctions in 2021, 2022, and possibly 2023.
Mass cull effects
While mink farmers, who were offered financial incentives to start the process without further delay, embarked on a mass cull, the Danish government was panned for executing an order without legal basis.
According to the BBC, an estimated 2.85 million minks were already dead before the prime minister halted the order. The mix-up spiraled into a major debacle for the government, and farmers expressed fury over losing their livelihoods overnight.
“They can’t just pull the plug and let me deal with the consequences,” mink farmer Frank Andersen told Reuters. “I won’t be able to start over; everything is ruined.”
Denmark’s animal rights group Dyrenes Beskyttelse also reported the state to the police over the mass cull, which led to mass graves, filled with slaughtered minks, and thousands of mink carcasses scattered across the main Danish motorway.
“Mistakes have been made,” said Mogens Jensen, Minister for Food, Agriculture and Fisheries.
He, however, added that “it does not change the fact that there is a great risk of having mink breeding in Denmark under corona.
“I still encourage mink farmers to co-operate… because now we have to do everything we can for the best of public health.”
The government finally announced last week that it had a parliamentary majority backing a law to cull the minks and suspend mink farming through 2021.
Mass cull- a necessary evil
While the mutant strain found in mink has not yet proven to jeopardize our vaccines, the situation has forced even some animal advocates to support a cull, for fear that allowing mink to live with untreated Covid-19 will cause them unnecessary agony and distress.
“If mink on a farm are infected, suffering respiratory problems, and are not being culled, their welfare will also be seriously compromised,” policy adviser for Humane Society International, Joanna Swabe, said.
Jeff Sebo, a professor of environmental studies, bioethics, and philosophy at New York University,said: “As a general rule, if you have so many animals in your care that you are unable to care for them during crises, then that is too many, and you should not be allowed to own or keep that many animals in the first place.”
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