At the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences at the University of Copenhagen a unique combination of research disciplines and facilities is available for studies of fur animals. In CPH Mink, the research disciplines are represented by a number of researchers with unique skills in mink research, including key disciplines such as nutrition, pathology, microbiology, genetics, epidemiology, welfare and ethics. Another very important part is the fur animal research facilities at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, which includes a research farm, a laboratory for balance studies and a respiration unit combined with stable isotope techniques to measure quantitative metabolism traits. The experimental farm plays an important role in the studies of nutritional requirement, feeding-related issues and welfare studies in fur animals. The research farm also provides a basis for researchers to develop their skills and knowledge within mink physiology, nutrition and disease.
Research themes and skills
CPH Mink can assist in supporting the Danish mink production even further ahead in a number of fields by focusing research in special fields.
Welfare plays a central role in Danish mink production. Through research, CPH Mink can contribute by developing n ew methods to assess animal welfare.. Nutritional aspects related to animal welfare include among others, feeding composition and feeding strategies. The research farm plays a central role in CPH Mink’s research on fur animal welfare.
In addition to general animal welfare, healthcare is an important theme. At CPH Mink, research will focus on infectious diseases, disease control strategies, disease transmission and protection. The research is aimed at solving healthcare problems in modern production systems by assessing the causal factors of disease and mortality. This includes studies of nutrition strategies and feed composition to avoid production diseases like diarrhoea and fatty liver. Other areas of focus in health include development and validation of new and improved diagnostic tools, disease transmission and optimizing disease management strategies and guidelines for infection protection in fur production. Use of antibiotics in mink production, as well as providing knowledge regarding new prevention or treatment methods obtained through studies carried out in close collaboration between CPH Mink and the mink industry is also an important focus.
The sustainability of Danish fur production is an important theme for CPH Mink. One focus is protein requirement and turnover in mink in different life stages, including the effect of protein provision on parameters such as health, metabolism, reproductive performance, birth weight and kit survival, kit growth and nitrogen emission to the environment. Production sustainability and competitiveness also depends on the genetic potential. A genetic mapping of the mink genome and identification of genetic markers of health, disease, welfare and selected production characteristics may help to increase sustainability within Danish mink production.