Milk Farm

Assessment on the Current Situation of Mink Farms and Coronavirus in Denmark

FOUR PAWS Statement


13 November , 2020 – The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) published its assessment on the current situation of mink farms in Denmark and the mutated coronavirus found there, our Wild Animal and Fur Expert at FOUR PAWS, Thomas Pietsch, comments.

"Although the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) classifies the mutated coronavirus, discovered on Danish mink farms, as similarly harmful as other SARS-CoV-2 pathogen strains in its first risk analysis, one finding is particularly striking. The mutated coronavirus, which is carried by minks and can be transmitted to humans, can have serious implications for COVID-19 diagnosis, treatment, and vaccination, according to ECDC. In plain terms, this means that vaccines currently in the final stages of development could be ineffective against the mutated virus. This would mean that the cruel fur industry would contribute significantly to prolonging the current global health crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, ECDC strongly advises that both workers and animals on fur farms be tested regularly. According to FOUR PAWS, this is almost impossible in reality, given the extremely high number of animals. Only very few EU member states that still allow fur farms carry out these tests. FOUR PAWS demands that the EU Commission exerts pressure here, because a lack of testing makes fur farms ticking time bombs for public health. According to the ECDC, a worldwide ban on the transport of live minks and raw skins should be imposed until further notice. Nevertheless, the world’s largest auction house for fur, ‘Kopenhagen Fur’, expects to receive about five to six million mink skins from corona-free Danish breeding farms and from outside the danger zones in the course of the next few weeks. These are to be offered in 2021 together with an estimated six million pelts from the previous year and other pelts from abroad at a total of four planned auctions. After that, however, it will be over for Kopenhagen Fur. A controlled closure is planned over the next two to three years. 

Once again FOUR PAWS demands the closure of fur farms once and for all. They embody animal cruelty, regardless of the 17 million minks about to be gassed in Denmark due to COVID-19 outbreaks, and also represent an enormous public health risk. Although the death of millions of minks, whether culled for COVID-19 or killed for their fur, is an animal welfare tragedy, the responsible governments worldwide now have the chance to put a stop to this cruel and outdated industry. If they miss this chance, it is likely that the next global pandemic will have its origin on a fur farm."

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Katharina Braun

Katharina Braun

Team Lead Public Relations

+43 (0) 664 885 33 270

VIER PFOTEN International 
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1150 Vienna, Austria

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FOUR PAWS is the global animal welfare organisation for animals under direct human influence, which reveals suffering, rescues animals in need and protects them. Founded in 1988 in Vienna by Heli Dungler and friends, the organisation advocates for a world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy and understanding. The sustainable campaigns and projects of FOUR PAWS focus on companion animals including stray dogs and cats, farm animals and wild animals – such as bears, big cats and orangutans – kept in inappropriate conditions as well as in disaster and conflict zones. With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, the UK, the USA and Vietnam as well as sanctuaries for rescued animals in eleven countries, FOUR PAWS provides rapid help and long-term solutions.

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