The government said the decision to lift the temporary ban was based on an assessment by the Statens Serum Institut, a government agency that maps the spread of diseases in Denmark.
Food, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Rasmus Prehn and institute officials plan to meet later Friday with representatives of the Danish mink industry to “review the infection prevention measures for the industry.”
The government said veterinary and health authorities have drawn up a model with requirements for handling COVID-19 in mink herds that breeders must “implement and comply with in order to be able to keep mink again after the turn of the year.”
“There are absolutely no good reasons to reopen large mink farms with millions of animals crammed in small wire cages until they are killed for their fur,” said Britta Riis, head of Animal Protection Denmark. “It is bad for the animals, the environment and the climate.”
“Keeping mink in the existing cages is not acceptable,” she said and added that several European countries have either banned or are phasing out mink farming. On Thursday, Latvia became the latest country to ban mink farming from 2028.
Denmark was one of the world’s main mink fur exporters, producing an estimated 17 million furs per year. Kopenhagen Fur, a cooperative of 1,500 Danish breeders, accounts for 40% of global mink production. Most of its exports went to China and Hong Kong.
The 2020 decision to wipe out Denmark’s entire captive mink population stirred strong controversy, particularly as the necessary legislation for such a drastic move was put in place more than a month after the cull had started.
In June 2022, a Parliament-appointed commission harshly criticized the Danish government for its decision to cull millions of healthy mink. The report said Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen had been “grossly misleading” during a 2020 press conference when she announced that all mink — infected and healthy animals alike — should be culled. The report also criticized other top Danish officials.