Millions of mink in Denmark are carrying a variant of Covid-19. Picture: REUTERS/JACOB GRONHOLT-PEDERSEN
Millions of mink in Denmark are carrying a variant of Covid-19. Picture: REUTERS/JACOB GRONHOLT-PEDERSEN

Kopenhagen Fur, the world's largest auction house for furs, is closing after Denmark's government ordered a mass cull of the country's mink to fight a coronavirus mutation.

The 90-year-old company has enough pelts to hold auctions next year and possibly into the future, but will start liquidating the business after that, a statement said.

Denmark was the world's biggest producer of mink until last week.

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen last week told Danish mink farmers to start culling their herds. She said scientists had discovered a rare mutation of the coronavirus which could derail vaccine efforts.

Farmers were offered financial incentives to start slaughtering mink herds as soon as possible, but Denmark's main animal rights group, Dyrenes Beskyttelse, made accusations of animal cruelty.

Denmark's warning that the virus mutation found in its mink posed a particular threat to vaccines has also been challenged.

Anthony Fauci, the top US infectious disease official, said the mutation detected in the country's mink farms would not compromise vaccines that are in development.

Doubt has left the government struggling to defend itself as public opinion builds against it.

"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."

Bloomberg

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