Minks in a cage at a mink farm in Sweden

Mutated Strain of COVID-19 Linked to Mink Farming



More than 14 million minks are currently being culled in Denmark due to COVID-19 outbreaks on mink fur farms that are spreading rapidly and mutating.

The decision to cull all minks was made by the Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen last Wednesday.

Danish health authorities are reporting that initial findings of the mutated virus strains seen in mink and people are showing slightly decreased sensitivity against antibodies. While the full impact of the new variant is not yet clear, it has the possibility of lowering the efficacy of future vaccines. 

With approximately 14 million minks trapped in small cages the size of a microwave, Denmark has the second largest production of mink in the world only surpassed by China. More than a million mink have been culled in the Netherlands due to COVID-19 outbreaks at 24 mink fur farms and the Dutch Parliament has voted to shut down the remaining 128 mink farms to prevent further infections. COVID-19 outbreaks have also occurred on mink farms in Spain and the United States.

Here in the United States, there are 245 fur farms across 22 states, with over 7,000 minks dying from COVID-19. This is another wake-up call for the US and other countries that are involved in mink farming and the wildlife trade. 

Head of Campaigns in World Animal Protection Denmark, Esben Sloth:

“The current pandemic has made it clear that we have to take the danger of transmitting this disease very seriously. Transmission of the disease is of danger not only to the local farms but to the whole world. The mink industry is outdated, and the politicians should ban the production of mink in Denmark, as we have seen in other European countries.

“COVID-19 probably derived from a wet market in Wuhan in China. Now we are at risk that the coronavirus might mutate on Danish mink farms. This clearly indicates that we must reconsider the way we interact with animals.

“Mink production is an outdated industry that should be banned solely considering the animals’ welfare. Keeping wild animals trapped in small cages only to be used for unnecessary luxury products like fur is appalling.”

We need to curb the high volumes of wild animals that are farmed and traded, for animals, for our health, and for the planet. You can help us put an end to the deadly global wildlife trade by donating today.

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Header image by Jo-Anne McArthur on Unsplash

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