In response to a scathing documentary presented by TV2 on mink farming last year, the Danish Fur Breeders Association has reportedly filed an action for defamation against the station and is demanding millions in compensation.
The planned action was publicised through a full-page advertisement in Jyllands-Posten newspaper on Wednesday and sarcastically titled ‘TV2 boss convicted of theft’.
According to the association, TV2’s documentary was clearly biased and inaccurate, as much of the footage shown was provided by animal activist organisation Anima.
Wednesday’s advert calls Anima ‘a radical political activist group’ and further pointed out that its members illegally entered the mink farms to film. The association believes this was in clear violation of accepted media practices and indicated it was ‘particularly reprehensible’ that a public service channel such as TV2 would support such methods.
‘We’re taking this action to clear our members’ reputations,’ said Kaj Kristensen, president of the Danish Fur Breeders Association. ‘They’ve been branded as animal abusers on the basis of material which police have now discarded. But the recordings cannot be used as documentation anyway, when you can’t see where they were made.’
Kristensen added that statistics from the Veterinary and Food Administration have shown that for every 12,000 minks raised less than 0.6 suffer unnecessary injury or harm.
‘In other words, 99.9952 percent of the animals are treated appropriately,’ said Kristensen.
But Lasse Bjerre, documentary editor at TV2, said he stands by the credibility of the programme.
‘It was both a sobering and well-documented programme,’ he said. ‘The authorities’ subsequent inspections showed that there were violations on a considerable number of farms. We also undertook a thorough verification of all the information contained in the imaging material and we found it to be completely reliable.’
Bjerre added that Kristensen’s claim that it was impossible to tell where the filming took place was also untrue.
With regard to the eye-catching headline of the association’s newspaper advert, the ad goes on to say that ‘no TV2 executives have been convicted of theft. The headline is a big lie created to capture your attention – just as it was a big lie when TV2 last year showed pictures of animals with ugly wounds and made accusations of widespread cruelty in Danish fur farms.’
Bjerre said he would not comment on the case until he was more familiar with the charges and content of the association’s planned lawsuit.