Denmark to Cull Entire Mink Population after Coronavirus Mutation Spreads to Humans.
Denmark’s prime minister has said the country will cull its entire mink population of up to 17 million after a mutation of the coronavirus found in the animals spread to humans. Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said Health authorities had found virus strains in humans and in mink which showed decreased sensitivity against antibodies, potentially lowering the efficacy of future vaccines.
“We have a great responsibility towards our own population, but with the mutation that has now been found, we have an even greater responsibility for the rest of the world as well. The mutated virus in mink may pose a risk to the effectiveness of a future vaccine,” Frederiksen said, adding that it “risks being spread from Denmark to other countries.”
The findings, which have been shared with the World Health Organization and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, were based on laboratory tests by the State Serum Institute, the Danish authority dealing with infectious diseases.
Denmark is the world’s largest producer of mink fur
The authorities and breeders have already been culling the animals over the past few weeks in a bid to contain the spread of Covid-19. Denmark’s health minister said about half of 783 infected people in northern Denmark, home to a large number of mink breeders, had been found to have infections stemming from the farms.
Denmark is the world’s largest producer of mink fur and has 15 to 17 million animals on about 1,100 farms. According to reports, the latest figures from the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration, say Covid-19 infections have been found on more than 200 mink farms. The figures were confirmed by a Danish police press officer.
Finnish fur auctioneer Magnus Ljung, CEO of Saga Furs, was watching the Danish announcement. “It’s a shock. They will kill all mink in Denmark. They are talking about the risk of Covid-19 mutating in the mink, and going from mink to humans, and potentially affecting a future human vaccine.”
Ljung estimated the value of the 2020 mink population in Denmark to be between €350m and €400m (£270m-£360m).
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