SARS-CoV-2 has the fur industry in a tail-spin this month as two North American auction houses announced a merger and Kopenhagen Fur announced a “controlled shutdown” in response to the devastating impact of COVID-19 and the virus that causes it on Danish mink.
Mink farms around the world have reported COVID-19 or signs of it, and one of the world’s largest mink farming nations didn’t escape unscathed. The virus was identified on many farms, leading to a cull of several million mink; but then health authorities discovered on a mink farm a mutated version of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, creating a potential hurdle to future vaccination.
The Danish government ordered a cull of the entire population of mink – as many as 17 million animals. But in the days that followed, it was discovered that the initial order was made without legal basis; only mink where the infection had been detected or in the immediate vicinity could be culled.
Today, the Minister of Agriculture resigned as a result of that original order. However, as reported by EuroNews.com, “This week, Denmark did gain the necessary support in Parliament to push through a legal reform which will prohibit mink breeding until 31 December 2021.”
Exactly what will happen next regarding the surviving mink in Denmark is unclear, as changes have occurred rapidly.
As a result of the mass culling and possible end to mink fur farming in Denmark, Kopenhagen Fur announced that a planned shutdown over two to three years.
As per the Kopenhagen Fur website: “The government’s announcement on 4 November to kill all Danish mink basically means nothing in relation to the coming sales season … Unfortunately, the loss of the Danish mink production means that the ownership base disappears and therefore, the company’s management has decided to gradually downsize the company and make a controlled shutdown over a period of 2-3 years.”
The site goes on to explain they expect to hold regular auctions in 2021, an unknown number in 2022 and potentially one or two in 2023.
Whether this decision will remain firm as things change in Denmark is uncertain, though The Fur-Bearers will work with our European partners to bring you the latest relevant information.
In North America
Multiple states have now reported the presence of the coronavirus on mink farms, resulting in quarantines and culls. Canada has not reported any signs of coronavirus or COVID-19 on the approximately 70 fur farms here, and the industry and government have only spoken about ‘biosecurity’ measures, not testing.
In a press release issued November 12, Fur Harvesters Auction Inc. and American Mink Exchange announced they would be hosting their events together, in North Bay, Ontario. The press release eludes to the goal of higher buyer attendance by combining the auctions, though it does not address the possible spread of coronavirus on mink farms in North America and the impact that may have on the industry.
The Fur-Bearers will continue to monitor these situations and bring you relevant updates as they’re available.