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Tuesday, December 1, 2020

17000000 minks to be culled in Denmark alone ! ... cruelty of mankind !!

                                Deepavali, the festival of lights is a week away !  ~ come Hindu festivals, we have a whole range of Naturalists, environmentalists, pollutionists! –and whole range of activists advising us on what to wear, what to eat, how to celebrate – why not spend money and spend it on social causes and more .. .. and they go dumb when animals are slaughtered mercilessly and money splashed on New Year eve !!  .. ..  how many are going to feel bad about the millions of poor animals that are to be killed in a week or so ! and why were they raised in first place ?  This is a very unusual chain of events: a virus that originally came from a wild animal, probably a bat, jumped into humans, possibly via an unknown animal host, sparking a pandemic, now another animal is apprehended to have the mutation from the humans – decision – cull them, kill them in millions.

A material which makes the wearer exude elegance and sophistication at first glance.  It is indeed  visual, attention-grabbing features- shiny and opulent. It has rich heritage dating back thousands of years !  it is costly and that way has added attraction of being rich.  However, of late, we hear so many people denouncing stating that for one silk saree so many hundreds of butterflies or caterpillars that would otherwise have become caterpillars had to die ! and hence they would stay away from wearing Silk – is that real or myth ?!?!? 

Miles away, in Europe - Farmers parked their tractors along a main road in Holstebro, Jutland,   to protest against the forced culling!  - read brutal killing of animals by mankind – and on this occasion this Nation is bringing in the army, the police and the home guard to speed up the process, but still, according to the police, the cull could take several days.

Fur is a thick growth of hair that covers the skin of many different animals. It is a defining characteristic of mammals. It consists of a combination of oily guard hair on top and thick underfur beneath. The guard hair keeps moisture from reaching the skin; the underfur acts as an insulating blanket that keeps the animal warm. What is unsaid is ‘it is natural protection for the animal’ – ‘certainly not the one that is produced by animals for the luxury of man’ !!

Right from Colonial times, British called other Nations (including India) – primitive and savage – they practiced kindness and spread their religion.  Most of the world's farmed fur is produced by European farmers. There are 5,000 fur farms in the EU, all located across 22 countries; these areas of production collectively account for 50% of the global production of farmed fur. The EU accounts for 63% of global mink production and 70% of fox production. Denmark is the leading mink-producing country, accounting for approximately 28% of world production. The top three fur producers are Denmark, Poland and China. Finland is the largest United States supplier of fox pelts. The United States is a major exporter of fur skins. Fur farming is banned in Austria, Croatia, the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic (effective in 2019) and Norway (effective 2025).   Since the turn of the millennium, fur sales worldwide have soared to record highs, fueled by radically new techniques for working with fur, and a sharp rise in disposable income in China and Russia. This growing demand has led to the development of extensive fur farming operations in China and Poland.

Mink are dark-colored, semiaquatic, carnivorous mammals of the genera Neovison and Mustela, and part of the family Mustelidae, which also includes weasels, otters and ferrets.   The American mink is larger and more adaptable than the European mink.  The American mink's fur has been highly prized for use in clothing, with hunting giving way to farming. Their treatment on fur farms has been a focus of animal rights and animal welfare activism. American mink have established populations in Europe (including Great Britain) and South America, after being released from mink farms by animal rights activists, or otherwise escaping from captivity.

More than 50 million mink a year are bred for their fur, mainly in China, Denmark, the Netherlands and Poland. Outbreaks have been reported in fur farms in the Netherlands, Denmark, Spain, Sweden and the US, and millions of animals have had to be culled. Mink, like their close relatives ferrets, are known to be susceptible to coronavirus, and like humans, they can show a range of symptoms, from no signs of illness at all, to severe problems, such as pneumonia. Denmark will cull all its mink - as many as 17 million - after a mutated form of coronavirus that can spread to humans was found on mink farms.

Prime Minister of Denmark  Mette Frederiksen said the mutated virus posed a "risk to the effectiveness" of a future Covid-19 vaccine. Denmark is the world's biggest producer of mink fur and its main export markets are China and Hong Kong. The culling began late last month, after many mink cases were detected. Coronavirus cases have also been detected in farmed mink in the Netherlands and Spain since the pandemic began in Europe. But cases are spreading fast in Denmark - 207 mink farms in Jutland are affected - and at least five cases of the new virus strain were found. Twelve people had become infected, the authorities said. Prime Minister Frederiksen described the situation as "very, very serious". Danish police and army personnel will help to carry out the mass cull. Ms Frederiksen cited a government report which said the mutated virus had been found to weaken the body's ability to form antibodies, potentially making the current vaccines under development for Covid-19 ineffective. "We have a great responsibility towards our own population, but with the mutation that has now been found, we have an even greater responsibility for the rest of the world as well," she told a news conference.

Since the start of the pandemic Denmark has reported 52,265 human cases of Covid-19 and 733 deaths, data from Johns Hopkins University shows. The coronavirus, like all viruses, mutates over time and there is no evidence that any of the mutations found in Denmark pose an increased danger to people. Danish scientists are particularly concerned about one mink-related strain, found in 12 people, which they say is less sensitive to antibodies against the virus, raising concerns about vaccine development.

The UK has imposed an immediate ban on all visitors from Denmark amid concerns about the new strain.  Mink kept in large numbers on mink farms have caught the virus from infected workers. And, in a small number of cases, the virus has "spilled back" from mink to humans, picking up genetic changes on the way.  Scientists suspect the virus spreads in mink farms through infectious droplets, on feed or bedding, or in dust containing droppings. Mink have caught the virus from humans, but genetic detective work has shown that in a small number of cases the virus seems to have passed the other way, with the virus spreading from mink back to humans.

Mink have become "reservoirs for the virus" and decision has been taken by mankind to kill millions of them – the army, Police, homeguards armed with weapons have been pressed into service.   Six countries have now reported coronavirus cases linked to mink farms after a Covid mutation spreading from the animals to humans was found in Denmark.  Denmark has already ordered a cull of its 17 million mink. 17 million = 1,70,00,000.. …   In Denmark, of the five farms where Cluster 5 was identified, only three of them were linked to four people with the infection, suggesting the strain is spreading between humans in the community.     

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
8th Nov. 2020.


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