And Now a Relaxing Article About COVID in Danish Mink Farms

White Mink

From The Guardian, a generally reliable enough website, this article:

“Denmark tightens lockdown in north over mink Covid outbreak”

As a headline writer myself, I respect the craft. Please continue:

“Twelve people infected so far with new strain against which vaccines may be ineffective”

That’s what we people doing online publishing call the “dek”; it means “deck.” It’s a subheading.

We also call the lead the “lede.” Don’t ask why, these things go back centuries. Do you want to know why windows in ships are always called “portholes” and “deck” means floor? Not really, no.

Mink Apocalypse

An outbreak among farmed mink of a mutant form of Covid-19 with the potential to be resistant to future vaccines has led to the Danish government bringing in tougher lockdown measures in parts of the country.

The measures were announced following the discovery of a new strain of the disease in animals bred for fur in the country’s northern regions.

Twelve people in the Jutland region have been diagnosed with infection with the new strain, and municipalities in northern Denmark will impose restrictions on residents’ movements between regions.”

Now, this is some fine newscraft! Let me break down how we do it in the sports world:

“Tigers 7, Twins 4: Bullpen blows lead, player also rips head off baby”

With the dek:

“In a surprising finish, the Twins lose a key division game with an unusual ‘twist.'”

See! That’s how it’s done! Ya hook ’em, ya reel ’em in. Child’s play, really. If you’ve practiced it enough.

Now, the gist of the article is about some new strain of coronavirus which blahblahblah — nobody really knows nothing about. But it has spread between minks. And humans have gotten it, which means it might have been mutated into something even scarier.

So 15 million minks are going to be killed.

Welcome to Loveable, Liberal Denmark

I do know northern Denmark a little. I attended a lovely wedding there. It was between two naval officers, appropriately held on a ship. During a smoke break, and they have those at Danish weddings, we noticed something in the far distance that looked like a ship on fire. It was difficult to be sure, but it very much looked like a very large ship on very much fire. Some watchers muttered, “That’s a bad omen.” Seagoing people are into omens.

Did it turn out, that was a fire? Yes it did! Did that marriage last? No, it spectacularly did not!

But they did go on a honeymoon, which meant one of their friends I’d never met provided me a ride to the airport. He was a farmer and spent the 90-minute drive complaining about how large-scale agricultural companies were squeezing out family farms. It was the kind of thing I’m inclined to sympathize with, so I listened.

He never mentioned mink farming.

Oh Yes: Danish Mink Farming Is a Thing

Denmark actually leads the world in mink production. For comparison, the pro-fur-farming website, Truth About Fur, says there are 268 mink farms in America, producing 2.7 million pelts a year.

The number of affected farms in Denmark? Well over 1000, raising 16 million minks a year. They are legally required to share information and innovation concepts with each other. (Obviously, in this instance, it didn’t work out too well.)

They actually have pretty decent regulations on preventing animal cruelty, but by no means are most Danes vegan. They consume insane amounts of pork, for instance; I’ve never stayed in a Danish home where bacon or chops or pork burgers or pork hotdogs aren’t served at least once daily, sometimes in combination. They all had pork liverwurst in the fridge as a midnight snack, too.

And, valid concerns about animal rights aside, I’ve eaten all these items in Danish homes, and they were all delicious. I’m a guest; it would be rude not to. Even if you only take a little bite to compliment the cook.

The End of Danish Mink? And the Best Bar in the World?

This mass slaughter will, no doubt, greatly hurt the Danish mink industry, even though worldwide demand is likely to continue. (Why wouldn’t it? Rich people spending on ridiculous luxury goods is recession-proof.) Most likely, if usual agricultural economics hold, the smallest farms will have to sell out to ones with greater cash reserves.

In a way, it’s very much like what my post-wedding airport driver was complaining about – the little farms losing out to bigger ones. He probably meant pork or potatoes farms (Danes also eat a lot of potatoes), but in this case, it’s mink. You don’t have to approve of fur farming to root for the little farmer. Or the littler minks.

How’s the naval ex-wife? (That’s who we knew of the couple.) She’s fine, still in the navy, and lives in this teensy Northern Denmark town with probably the best, most wonderful bar I’ve ever been to in my life. Picture “Cheers,” but with sailors, and a lot of people quietly smoking and reading. The grill is in the back for anyone who wants to use it.

That’s shut down because of a lockdown due to the mink farming crisis. That’s sad but maybe it’ll survive; Denmark is better at supporting small businesses than we are.

The COVID mink did not survive, however. But hey, at least this article wasn’t about the US election. A friend of mine I sent The Guardian story to actually responded, “Thanks for the distraction.”


White Mink by felixd under CC BY-SA 4.0.

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About James Fillmore

I am a spy for MI-6 who recklessly sleeps with innumerable gorgeous partners, drinks like a madman, ruins expensive company equipment, and I get away with all of this because I save the world on a consistent basis. As my cover, I am a poor person living in Minnesota.

10 thoughts on “And Now a Relaxing Article About COVID in Danish Mink Farms

  1. Oh, and for the record, I have absolutely nothing against Danish potato farmers. I just find it funny that we think of potato farming as an Irish or Idaho thing, and that’s the #1 cash crop veg in Denmark. You’d guess it’d be some bizarre Scandinavian thing, like, I dunno, a rutabaga that grew sideways and was used in embalming cod with lye for future consumption, no, it’s plain old brown-colored potatoes.

    Which they cook very well. Danes, generally, are excellent cooks. I don’t think I knew how to cook more than Top Ramen or frozen pizza before I was 26 or so. Incidentally, the person who first taught me was an Oregon Native American lady. On Thanksgiving, as a matter of fact. But that’s a different story for a different day.

    • That sounds like a fascinating story!

      You might have gotten that impression from me. I got the impression that you didn’t like potatoes. And I can’t understand that at all because potatoes are probably the best food. Sure, I might people bread in front of them, but that seems like cheating given bread has a lot of things in it. The best rice would be close to potatoes.

  2. And now, an old college roommate tells me, it’s actually worse. There was a similar outbreak in Estonia. Which is, I’m sure, a wonderful country with a fascinating culture, but I couldn’t possibly find it on a map: it’s not Canada.

    • I’m thinking it is near Croatia, but I’m not even sure I’m spelling it right!

      I was just listening to an excellent podcast called “Science Vs.” They have a two-part episode looking at whether the CIA caused the pig virus that really hurt Cuba in 1971. Fascinating stuff. In general, however, I don’t think that killing an animal or human is that bad. It’s torture or cruelty that is the worst. Still, I don’t like to see any animal or human killed. So these stories are sad.

  3. And IT’S GETTING WORSER STILL! The minks weren’t buried deeply enough, and their bloated corpses are emerging from the ground. So, Denmark is going to have to dig millions of dead minks up and rebury them. Ye Gods, this story.

  4. “Slaughter Minks: Zombie Ferrets.” Have the undead creatures erupting out of graves and gnawing people’s carotid neck arteries for no real reason. Except, “you killed millions of us, humans. Now it’s payback time.”

    I would totally see that movie.

    With Christmas coming up, I’d be amiss if I didn’t mention “Anna And The Apocalypse.” It’s teens, fighting undead monsters. And it’s on Christmas. And it’s a a musical. Christmas, song & dance numbers, zombie beheadings, you can’t get much better.

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