In the age of global pandemics, fur farming poses a grave danger to public health.
Minks are uniquely susceptible to Covid-19, which has infected hundreds of fur farms across the world.1
In November 2020, Denmark – the world’s top producer of mink pelts – made the explosive announcement that a dangerous new strain of Covid, known as “C5,” had mutated in minks on fur farms and jumped into the human population. Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen warned that the C5 variant, known as an “antibody escape” mutation, could have disastrous consequences: “The mutated virus in mink may pose a risk to the effectiveness of a future vaccine.”2
As stated by Prof. Allan Randrup Thomsen, a virologist at the University of Copenhagen, “The variant can develop further, so that it becomes completely resistant, and then a vaccine does not matter.”3 Put more bluntly by Prof. Kåre Mølbak, vaccine expert and director of infectious diseases at Denmark’s State Serum Institute, “The worst-case scenario is that we would start off a new pandemic.”4
According to Danish Health Minister Magnus Heunicke, a full half of all human Covid cases in the north of the country are from mink-mutated “F” strains.5
Tage Pederson, Chair of the Danish Fur Breeder’s Association, was forced to concede, “Of course, we must not be the cause of a new pandemic,”6 recommending that fur farmers comply with a government mandate to cull every mink in the country.7 And Kopenhagen Fur, the world’s largest fur auction house, announced it would be closing its doors in three years or less.8
Seven countries have reported mink-mutated strains of the virus in human beings. Even more frightening, at least three of these countries do not farm minks – meaning the virus spread from human to mink, back to human in mutated form, and then across international borders into global populations.9
The Lancet describes the nightmarish likelihood that Covid will remain in minks and continue mutating long into the future: “A major concern is the potential formation of a non-human reservoir from where the viruses could be reintroduced once circulation of SARS-CoV-2 in humans is suppressed or even stopped.”10 This fear is further compounded by the USDA’s discovery of Covid in a wild mink near a Utah fur farm, the first known case of a wild animal testing positive anywhere in the world.11
Denmark is in good company with its mass cull, which is now being followed by Ireland and others.12 Nineteen countries have banned fur farming, or regulated it out of existence, including the United Kingdom, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Japan. At least six others are currently considering bans, including Poland, now the world’s second ranking fur producer.13
Even Vogue condemns “fashion’s role in triggering coronavirus outbreaks” in an article entitled “Here’s Why Fashion Needs to Finally Say Goodbye to Fur.”14 From public health officials to fashion editors, experts agree: the era of fur is over.