World’s largest fur auction house is shutting down after Danish government hits panic button

World’s largest fur auction house is shutting down after Danish government hits panic button

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The Danish government may have been overstating concerns connecting minks with a virus. Whatever be the case, the country’s oldest fur auction house is facing extinction.
Image Credit: AP
Copenhagen: Kopenhagen Fur, the world’s largest auction house for furs, is closing down after Denmark’s government ordered a mass cull of the country’s mink in an effort to fight a coronavirus mutation. The 90-year-old company still has enough pelts to hold auctions next year and possibly further into the future, but will start liquidating the business after that.
The development marks the end of an era in Denmark, which was the world’s biggest producer of mink until last week. Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen stunned the industry on November 4 when she told Danish mink farmers to start culling their herds. She said scientists had discovered a rare mutation of the coronavirus – cluster 5 – which had the potential to derail vaccine efforts.

Farmers, who were offered financial incentives to start as soon as possible, embarked on a mass cull that, in some cases, was so rushed that errors were made. Denmark’s main animal rights group, Dyrenes Beskyttelse, has reported the Danish state to the police amid accusations of cruelty. Meanwhile, thousands of mink carcasses were strewn across a main Danish motorway, according to eye-witness reports.

Not so, says Dr. Fauci

Denmark’s warning that the virus mutation found in its mink posed a particular threat to vaccines has been challenged. Anthony Fauci, the top US infectious disease official, said on Thursday that the mutation detected in the country’s mink farms won’t compromise vaccines that are in development.

The added layer of doubt has angered the fur industry and left the government struggling to defend itself as public opinion builds against it. According to a poll published by Politiken, Danish support for the government’s COVID-19 strategy is at its lowest ever, at 56 per cent of those surveyed as of this week, compared with 76 per cent in July.

“Kopenhagen Fur’s large international customer group has difficulty understanding the past week’s development in Denmark,” the auction house said. “Many customers have based their entire business model on Danish mink.”

Thumbs down

The government’s handling of the crisis has drawn condemnation from a united parliament. Frederiksen’s order to wipe out Denmark’s entire mink population lacked a legal mandate, forcing the government to regroup and draft an emergency bill. That failed to win the three-quarters parliamentary support needed to pass, and the legislative process is now in limbo.

Mink accounts for about 0.7 per cent of Danish exports, and employs roughly 3,000 people in the country. Lawmakers are now working on a rescue package for Denmark’s mink industry, which might be as big as $2.2 billion, according to broadcaster TV2.

Tage Pedersen, the chairman of the Danish Fur Breeders’ Association, which owns Kopenhagen Fur, told Bloomberg earlier this week that the government’s decision to order a mass cull means there’s “no way back” for the industry. “Even if a few farmers somehow survive, there’s still no future.”

Frederiksen’s government, which still expects a standard bill to pass with a simple majority of more than 50 per cent, wants all Danish mink farming to be banned until 2022. That means breeding animals will be wiped out, effectively shuttering the industry for good.

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Original news source Credit: gulfnews.com



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