RECENT cursory reportage of the "culling" – this word itself used, like "collateral damage”, to describe civilian casualties in war zones, one suspects to imply a veneer of justification – of a reported 17 million mink in Denmark speaks volumes for the sheer scale, disrespect and exploitation man routinely perpetrates on its fellow occupants of Planet Earth and how little it seems we – and our media – care about it.

The story earned a miserly one-day, three column inches in The Herald ("‘Further acceleration’ in spread of coronavirus across Europe", The Herald, November 5), little more across other media outlets, predicated not on the plight of the persecuted animals, but exclusively on the apparent threat they now posed to mankind, having been found to be hosting a mutation of the Covid-19 virus currently wreaking economic, health and political havoc around the world.

Brief TV footage showed an escaping mink being recaptured, not for rescue but return to a lifetime of captivity until ready for slaughter, all casually justified as a human health protection measure.

I was unable to find a single media story addressing the root cause, that these 17 million Danish mink – and no doubt millions more elsewhere – are intensively farmed and subsequently harvested solely for the frivolous, cosmetic pleasure of some members of the very species, homo sapiens, currently at risk from the virus and its mutated cousin.

Belatedly – I must confess – I now place animal welfare front and centre of my food choices, accepting that overpopulated mankind has to somehow feed itself, the rich irony being that Covid-19 originated from a wet food market in China, where there are uncomfortably very many.

I’ve been there; they are disgusting barbaric, blood-and-guts establishments, chickens, snakes, eels, owls (many Chinese are said to believe they will inherit the owl’s wisdom), rats, fish, even cats and dogs inhumanely slaughtered right at the point of sale, all in pursuit of an insatiable Chinese demand for the freshest of meat.

There would appear to be no other useful by-products to mink production, other than using their pelts in the swanky fashion industry, where a mink coat remains the epitome of financial and societal – but certainly not moral – wealth.

With such a blatant, callous disregard for our fellow occupants on an already endangered planet, should we be surprised when such egregious acts of contempt are being lawfully perpetrated whilst the best the media can do is to highlight – in the passing – a potential threat to human health?

Mike Wilson, Longniddry.