The Danish government have dropped plans to pass emergency legislation to allow the country’s entire mink population to be culled, after the legality of the decision was called into question.
Coronavirus cases in Denmark have rapidly spread, reports the BBC. According to health authorities, five new virus strains were discovered on mink farms and 12 people have been infected thus far.
Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen announced on November 4 that over 17-million minks would be culled by November 16 to prevent further spread.
Fredericksen cited a government report which stated that the mutated virus was found to weaken the body’s ability to form antibodies. The mutated virus thus poses a potential threat to the efficacy of a future COVID-19 vaccine.
However, this decision has met with much backlash from the public and lawmakers. Fredericksen’s legislation reportedly lacks the three-quarter majority it needs to be passed by parliament, and many have called the scientific study surrounding the decision into question.
Those opposed to the cull argue that the Statens Serum Institut (SSI) have not found evidence of the mutated strain for more than a month. Some experts question whether the mutation is actually dangerous.
“There are huge doubts relating to whether the planned cull was based on an adequate scientific basis,” said Jakob Ellemann-Jensen, the leader of the opposition Liberals. “At the same time, the government is taking away the livelihood of a large number of people without actually having the legal rights to do so.”
Food and Fisheries Minister Mogens Jensen is still expected to present a bill on Tuesday, November 10 to authorise the culling of all sick and healthy mink throughout the country.
Dr Joanna Swabe, Humane Society International/Europe’s senior director of public affairs, came out in support of the cull, saying that it is a significant development in the mink fur trade.
“Although not a ban on fur farming, this move signals the end of suffering for millions of animals confined to small wire cages on Danish fur farms solely for the purposes of a trivial fur fashion that no-one needs.
“HSI urges the Danish government to assist fur farmers to transition to other activities. There has never been a more compelling time for Denmark to shut down the sick fur industry for good,” she continued.