Denmark to allow ‘significantly reduced’ mink production

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COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — The Danish government said Friday that a temporary ban on mink farming will expire Jan. 1, allowing mink production to resume in the country but at a “significantly reduced” level that before the coronavirus pandemic.

Almost two years ago, the Danish government ordered the culling of millions of mink to minimize the risk of the small mammals re-transmitting the virus. The Scandinavian country banned mink farming in November 2020 to contain a mutated version of the coronavirus that could spread to humans.

The Department for Environment and Food said health officials now believe ‘there is a limited risk to public health by resuming significantly reduced mink production and introducing infection prevention measures “.

The government said the decision to lift the temporary ban was based on an assessment by the Statens Serum Institut, a government agency that maps the spread of disease in Denmark.

Food, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Rasmus Prehn and institute officials plan to meet representatives of the Danish mink industry later on Friday to “discuss infection prevention measures for the industry”.

The government said veterinary and health authorities have drawn up a model with requirements for the management of COVID-19 in mink herds which farmers must “implement and adhere to in order to be able to keep the mink again after the end of of the year”.

“There is absolutely no good reason to reopen large mink farms with millions of animals crammed into small wire cages until they are killed for their fur,” said Britta Riis, head of animal protection in Denmark. “It’s bad for animals, the environment and the climate.”

“Keeping mink in existing cages is not acceptable,” she said, adding that several European countries have either banned or phased out mink farming. On Thursday, Latvia became the latest country to ban mink farming from 2028.

Denmark was one of the world’s leading exporters of mink fur, producing around 17 million pelts a year. Kopenhagen Fur, a cooperative of 1,500 Danish breeders, accounts for 40% of world mink production. Most of its exports were destined for China and Hong Kong.

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