Should we cull known reservoirs of COVID-19 such as minks and humans?

Denmark is engaging in a mass cull of millions of mink, individuals who are farmed for their fur, because they are a reservoir of COVID-19. Funnily enough, humans are also a reservoir of COVID-19, but the thought of culling humans to save humans is unfathomable (and rightly so).

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen became tearful when discussing (get this) the plight of the mink *farmers*. Apparently not so much sympathy for the minks themselves. Our desire to get get flesh, fur and secretions from non-humans is what produces most zoonotic pandemics in the first place, and yet it’s the farmed animals who are chosen to suffer and die first.

The problem with this whole thing is that none of the rationales we commonly use to justify doing what we do to non-humans would work if applied to humans.

“We need to eat them to be healthy.”

“We need to cull them to protect ourselves.”

“Their flesh and secretions just taste soo good.”

“I’d stop eating them but it’s just so inconvenient.”

Ultimately what it comes down to, whether people admit it or not, is that they just see non-humans as not being worthy of moral consideration as soon as our convenience or way of life is threatened. There is no reason for this. Non-humans can feel pain just like us, and some might even have a greater capacity to feel pain than humans. Should we cull humans to protect the interests of such non-humans with a greater capacity for suffering? No? Then maybe we should rethink how we view non-humans in the first place.

Danish MP Mette Frederiksen weeping, 26 Nov 20

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